– Augmedix, a provider of
remote medical documentation and live clinical support launches the national
rollout of a transformative tech-enabled medical documentation service powered
by virtual scribes and created specifically for busy Emergency Department (ED)
– Augmedix trains remotely-located scribes in emergency
medicine documentation to alleviate the administrative burden for clinicians,
which is especially important today as these clinicians are on the front lines
of the COVID crisis.
– The virtual scribes use the proprietary Augmedix
Notebuilder automation technology to ensure consistent, accurate documentation,
which adds value and potential return on investment relating to ancillary
billing opportunities unique to the ED.
– The Augmedix ED scribes support key facets of
documentation, real-time alerts, and Electronic Health Records tasks. This
includes tracking and providing reminders for labs, radiology, and EKGs, as
well as attaching patient education materials at the end of each encounter.
– Additionally, Augmedix scribes positively impact clinician
workflow and the patient experience by removing barriers between the ED and
hospitalists. The ED virtual scribes assist clinicians to optimize workflow by
prioritizing documentation requirements for patients being admitted, while
still ensuring all ED patient documentation is complete for clinician review
and sign-off by the end of their shift.
President Joe Biden looks likely to ditch the previous administration’s move to create a quicker route to market for digital health products and other devices following the pandemic emergency.
After he took office on Wednesday, Biden quickly moved to freeze a raft of Trump policies, including the moves to loosen regulations on devices including digital health products.
Only last week, the FDA had posted plans with the US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to allow certain medical devices including “low risk” digital health apps to be exempt from its usual premarket notification requirements.
The regulatory process known as 510(k) had been temporarily waived during the COVID-19 emergency and the proposal would have made the move permanent.
It was part of a plan to create a fast route to market for products that have helped to support the US health system during the COVID-19 crisis.
The 510(k) process already gave considerable regulatory leeway for new products, allowing the FDA to wave products through to market that it found to be “substantially equivalent” to another legally marketed predecessor.
But it looks like the Biden administration is taking a more long-term view about the regulations and how they apply to digital health.
Legal experts from the law firm Hogan Lovells noted that the proposals to drop the process “fly in the face” of an action plan to regulate artificial intelligence (AI) in healthcare.
That called for an expanded regulatory framework for machine learning devices and a more careful review of products that rely on AI.
The team from Hogan Lovells said that the exemptions remain in place for seven of the devices, all of which are gloves.
But the proposal will not take effect regarding 83 other devices unless the Biden administration decides to pursue it.
Filings for the kinds of devices covered by the notice are still being submitted and accepted by the FDA and meanwhile the HHS is still accepting comments on ways to improve the premarket approval process known until 16 March.
– Boston Scientific announces an agreement to acquire Preventice
Solutions, a leading developer of mobile health solutions and remote monitoring
services that connect patients and caregivers for $925M in cash.
– The acquisition of external cardiac monitoring technologies and services providers will expand Boston Scientific’s rhythm management diagnostics portfolio and capabilities.
Scientific today announced that it has acquired Preventice Solutions, Inc.,
a Minneapolis, MN-based company which offers a full portfolio of mobile cardiac
health solutions and services, ranging from ambulatory cardiac monitors –
including short and long-term Holter monitors – to cardiac event monitors and
mobile cardiac telemetry.
The Preventice product portfolio includes the BodyGuardian®
family of remote, wearable cardiac monitors for adult and pediatric patients.
The monitors use a fully-integrated, cloud-based platform supported by an
independent diagnostic testing facility, where clinical technicians and artificial
intelligence (AI) algorithms provide insights that may lead to improved
clinical diagnoses and outcomes. Preventice’s integration of AI and human
expertise is designed to enhance physician efficiency and experience.
Under terms of the acquisition, Boston Scientific has agreed
to pay $925M in upfront cash, and up to an additional $300 million in a potential
commercial milestone payment. Boston Scientific has been an investor in
Preventice since 2015 and currently holds an equity stake of approximately 22
percent, which is expected to result in a net payment of approximately $720
million upon closing and a milestone payment of up to approximately $230
million. Preventice recorded net sales of $158 million in 2020 – a 30 percent
growth rate from the previous year.
Acquisition Expands Boston Scientific’s Rhythm Management
“This acquisition will provide Boston Scientific with a foothold in the high-growth ambulatory electrocardiography space, which strongly complements our recent entrance into the implantable cardiac monitor market and will serve as an important component of our category leadership strategy in cardiac diagnostics and services – a nearly $2B market anticipated to grow double digits annually,” said Scott Olson, senior vice president and president, Rhythm Management, Boston Scientific. “We are confident that by adding the broad technology portfolio and expertise of Preventice, our combined teams can continue to deliver rapid growth in these highly-attractive markets while also establishing an important adjacency to our core cardiac rhythm management and electrophysiology businesses.”
Between them, Royal Philips and Thermo Fisher have been driving a mini M&A spree in the medical technology sector, snapping up three companies in the last few weeks.
Dutch electronics giant Philips’ latest move is to acquire Capsule Technologies, which provides software to link data from medical devices and electronic medical records (EMR) within hospitals, for $635 million in cash.
That agreement comes a few weeks after Philips signed a $2.8 billion deal to buy BioTelemetry – a developer of wearable heart monitors – and also follows an alliance just this week with Merck & Co. to develop a digital approach to personalised fertility treatment.
Capsule’s software is already used by more than 2,800 healthcare organisations around the world for device integration, vital signs monitoring and clinical surveillance services, including in intensive care units. It can be used to analyse data at the patient’s bedside, helping to guide treatment, and generated sales of around $100 million last year.
The platform is designed to work with a wide range of medical devices and equipment – regardless of the manufacturer – and according to Capsule “increases patient visibility, improves collaboration between care teams, simplifies clinical workflows, and gives caregivers more time with patients.”
The company slots neatly into Philips’ current medical device and digital health range, which includes real-time patient monitoring, medical imaging, therapeutic devices, telehealth, health informatics and interoperability software.
“The acquisition of Capsule will further expand our patient care management offering,” said Roy Jakobs, who heads the connected care division at Philips, which will absorb Capsule and its 300 employees based in Massachusetts, US.
Thermo Fisher meanwhile has added to its stable in the last week with the $550 million takeover of Californian firm Mesa Biotech, which has developed a portable diagnostic device for infectious diseases.
That includes SARS-CoV-2 – the virus that causes COVID-19 – as well as influenza A and B, respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) and strep A. Mesa has emergency use authorisation from the FDA for the COVID-19 application and full approvals for the other diseases. Based on a rapid form of polymerase chain reaction (PCR) technology, the unit can deliver a result in 30 minutes.
Thermo is paying $450 million upfront for Mesa with another $100 million on offer if the device meets certain development and sales targets. The San Diego company has 500 employees and made revenues of around $45 million last year.
“The addition of Mesa Biotech’s easy-to-use, rapid PCR-based test is highly complementary to our existing offering and will further help us meet the continuing demand for COVID-related testing while we work to rapidly scale and develop point-of-care tests for other infectious diseases in the future,” said Mark Stevenson, Thermo’s chief operating officer.
– Today, Biobeat, developer of AI-powered remote patient monitoring solutions, announced the launch of its home patient monitoring kit.
– The kit, which includes chest-monitors, compatible adhesive units, and a user-friendly manual, allows healthcare providers to bring hospital-level care to patient homes by empowering health staff and patients with proven wearable AI-powered remote patient monitoring technology.
Biobeat, an Israeli-based continuous remote patient
monitoring solution for the healthcare continuum, today announced the launch of
a new home-based remote patient monitoring kit. The solution allows healthcare
providers to remotely monitor patients’ vital signs and receive updates and
deterioration alerts, helping to alleviate hospital overload, reduce costs and
improve patient care.
cleared and CE Marked wearable chest monitors can detect 14 cardio-pulmonary
vital sign measurements (blood pressure, blood saturation, heart rate,
respiratory rate, temperature and more), providing healthcare providers with 128
data points per second and more than 150 million individual data points per
day. The wireless solutions connect to a cloud-based patient management system
to provide medical staff with real-time data and alerts, enabling early
identification of clinical deterioration.
management platform includes an integrated automated, customizable early
warning score system that incorporates advanced health-AI-based
algorithms that analyze aggregated patient data to identify deterioration more
accurately and provide predictive analytics. This platform could help patients,
their family members, and healthcare providers in multiple settings, allowing
to optimize care of patients in the post-discharge and outpatient settings, as
well as hospital-level home care of oncology patients, COVID-19
patients, and more.
used by healthcare facilities (including hospitals, nursing homes) across the
US and the world and currently works with 10+ major pharmaceutical companies
and CROs (Amgen, Bayer, AstraZeneca etc.)
hospital-level home-based patient monitoring kit is essential in today’s
socially distant pandemic climate,” said Arik Ben Ishay, CEO of Biobeat. “As
hospitals continue to grapple with over flooded COVID wards and increasing rates
of infection, it is crucial to empower health staff with trusted clinical-grade
wearable AI-powered patient monitoring tools that will allow them to provide
hospital-level care from a distance. In this way, providers can better manage
patient influx, reduce facility expenses and most importantly, improve patient
outcomes. We expect to see hospital-level home-based remote patient monitoring
solutions become the standard of patient care in 2021 and beyond, strengthening
the Hospital at Home concept.”
– Tyto Care announces the launch of its fingertip Pulse
Oximeter device, allowing users to measure their own blood oxygen saturation
level and heart rate from the comfort and safety of home.
– Expanding its clinic-quality remote capabilities, TytoCare users will be able to perform a remote blood oxygen exam, allowing clinicians to better monitor patients with COVID-19 and chronic lung or heart conditions.
Tyto Care, a New York City-based all-in-one modular device and examination platform for AI-powered, on-demand, remote medical exams, today announced the release of its FDA-cleared fingertip Pulse Oximeter (SpO2) medical device. The Pulse Oximeter enables TytoCare users to check blood oxygen saturation levels and heart rate, which are crucial for the monitoring of chronic conditions and COVID-19.
Fingertip At-Home Pulse Oximeter Measures Blood Oxygen and Heart Rate
The Pulse Oximeter connects by cable to the TytoCare device.
Users who choose to perform the blood oxygen exam are prompted to place their
finger in the SpO2 device for 15 seconds. Upon completion of the
exam, the blood oxygen and heart rate results appear immediately on the
handheld TytoCare device and the Pulse Oximeter adaptor itself and are also
recorded within the TytoCare platform for review by the clinician and sent to
the patients’ EHR
(Electronic Health Record). If the examination is performed in real-time
during a live telehealth visit, the clinician will see the results immediately
in the TytoCare Clinician Dashboard. Clinicians are able to assess the
reliability of the results recorded by viewing the heart rhythm graph generated
during the exam.
Why It Matters
This expansion of Tyto Care’s virtual examination solution
is bringing the company even closer to full remote, clinic-level testing
capabilities from the comfort of home. The Pulse Oximeter is a key tool for
monitoring high-risk or infected individuals during the COVID-19 pandemic, as
well as for post-discharge care and home hospitalization. The company’s Pulse
Oximeter device also enables seamless monitoring of patients with chronic lung
and heart conditions, critical during routine times as well.
“We’re excited to announce the release of our Pulse Oximeter, providing patients with more tests that bring the clinic directly to them,” said Dedi Gilad, CEO and Co-Founder of Tyto Care. “The COVID-19 pandemic thrust telehealth into the spotlight, and we are constantly enhancing the TytoCare platform to ensure users have access to the most comprehensive telehealth solution available. The pandemic will eventually be behind us, yet telehealth will remain a key component in the future of healthcare, providing patients with the best possible remote care and clinicians with actionable insights into their patients’ health.”
The SpO2 device is available in the
United States and Israel through partnering health systems. In the future, the
device will also be available in Europe, South Africa, and Asia.
– Moderna and Uber announced a partnership to work together initially to provide accessible, credible information on COVID-19 vaccine safety through Uber’s in-app messaging.
– The two companies will also work with public health and
other organizations to identify additional opportunities to support ongoing
efforts to broaden access to COVID-19
– Additional options being evaluated include incorporating
ride scheduling directly into the immunization appointment process, and
possibly integrating with vaccine providers’ systems to text reminders and
enable patients to book rides in advance of their first or second immunization
– While initially targeting Uber users in the United States,
the companies anticipate expanding this partnership globally in the coming
months alongside ongoing immunization efforts.
There is almost no profession that technology hasn’t improved or changed in some way. At the touch of a button, we can order our groceries for delivery to our door. In the near future, drones may become commonplace for mail delivery. Every small change is making a significant difference. Therefore, it makes sense for the nursing profession and medical industry to see dramatic technological advancements, as well. However, some stand out from the crowd more than others, such as the following:
1. Portable Monitors
It doesn’t seem like all that long ago that you could only monitor a patient’s vitals while they were in bed. With the invention of portable monitors, that has all changed. Nurses can hook up a monitor on wheels to a patient to check their respiratory rates, oxygen saturation levels, and ECG while they are on the move. This information is then sent to a central monitor. If an emergency occurs, nurses receive an alarm notification.
Every nurse and nurse-in-training through a school like rntobsnprogram.com learns how to use a portable monitor early in their education. This piece of technology can save lives while also ensuring a patient can remain mobile with far more convenience.
2. Smart Beds
It almost seems like every piece of technology we own these days is labeled as ‘smart.’ We can control smart ovens from our mobile devices, turn on the dishwasher when we’re not home, and even use our voices to turn the lights on and off.
It was only a matter of time before smart technology hit the medical ward, and it did it in a big way with smart beds. These beds can carry out several functions that may have previously been left up to a nurse to manage. They can weigh patients, monitor vitals, and even track movement. Given how innovative they are, nurses can even receive communications and updates from the bed to inform them of a patient’s activities.
3. Automated IV Pumps
Nurses are required to be in several places at once in a busy medical facility. Fortunately, technological advancements have meant that machines can take on some of the tasks that take up much of a nurse’s precious time.
Automated IV pumps are something that nurses learn about early on in their training. However, it’s important to note that the style and usage instructions for each pump type can differ from one hospital or clinic to the next. Generally, though, they control the dosage given to patients with software. Nurses can then change the drip amount and dosage to cut down the wait time between changes.
In the wake of COVID-19, telehealth took off as a useful healthcare tool for nurses and doctors to utilize. It allowed people to access the help they needed, but without having to visit a medical facility in person. While a nurse or doctor still has to take the call, the digital meeting means medical resources like beds and seats are left free for more critical cases. Telehealth and apps are expected to supersede in-person visits in the future.
When you start your training to become a nurse, you’ll quickly discover just how much technology is now included in the role. While it might seem daunting at first, these advancements may ultimately make a medical professional’s day-to-day tasks much more manageable.
K Health raised $132 million in funding, which it plans to use to expand its platform into pediatric patients. The company has built a symptom-checker app and lets patients text a primary care physician for an additional fee.
– A deeper entrenchment in the streaming age and shifting
consumer expectations demand a shift in the healthcare industry’s approach to
care delivery and experiences. Quality patient engagement must be acknowledged
as a vital and unavoidable part of the healthcare journey.
– The partnership will establish a holistic approach to
digital health engagement with integrated conversational AI and rich
content streaming. It is a major development for the industry that sets a new
standard for quality patient engagement and helps address gaps in how
healthcare organizations educate and activate their members.
– mPulse Mobile solutions excel at reaching and engaging
diverse member and patient populations on their healthcare journey, helping
customers to measurably improve outcomes. The Big Know adds a superior ability
to captivate, educate and activate individuals through award-winning cinematic
content that is proven to sustain deeper relationships. Together, the companies
are on track to power over half a billion digital interactions in 2021.
– “We have a mission to improve health equity and health
outcomes for the populations that we serve. Building on a foundation of
knowledge through demographically appropriate learning strategies will help our
clients and us achieve these goals and reduce health disparities,”
Nicholson continued. “Our combination with The Big Know is a perfect
synergy. Our legacy of engaging with hard-to-reach patient populations combines
with their dedication to health literacy and formative learning experiences to
ensure more educational engagements and greater outcomes.”
– Conversa Health raises an additional
$8M, expanding its Series B round to $20M for its automated virtual care
platform, totaling $34M in funding to date.
– The Series B round, first announced at $12 million in
June, was co-led by Builders VC and Northwell Ventures, the corporate venture
arm of Northwell Health, New York’s largest healthcare provider with 23
hospitals and 800 outpatient facilities.
– Founded in 2014, Conversa enables health systems to
virtually engage, monitor and manage patients more effectively and efficiently
than ever before—for chronic care, acute discharge, perioperative, oncology,
OBGYN, prevention and wellness, and more. Conversa’s automated care platform
engages patients at high frequency and scale while triaging to
higher-touch/cost care venues when necessary, optimizing and improving the use
of telehealth e-visits, phone calls, and in-person consults.
– Conversa will use the additional Series B funds to
continue to scale its technology platform, expand its library of automated
virtual care digital pathways, and fuel growth with new and existing
In the face of COVID-19, healthcare witnessed how crises can become the long-awaited push for creativity and innovation that the industry needs. When our healthcare infrastructure’s weaknesses were exposed, telehealth helped to stitch them up, with the number of telehealth claims increasing 8,336% nationally from April 2019 to April 2020. Out of need, patients quickly turned to telehealth as a new model of care delivery; clinicians adapted to a new avenue for engaging with patients, policymakers began to improve incentives for its use; and home became our hospital.
As we continue the fight to control the virus in 2021, the industry is at a pivotal moment in ensuring this year’s telehealth momentum continues post-pandemic. Healthcare organizations should take time now to strategize how best to hardwire telehealth, so it is embedded into care delivery models long-term. In order to achieve this, leaders need to consider their collaboration with other stakeholders, longitudinal integration strategies that go beyond piecemeal solutions and transform the perception of what “home” means in healthcare to meet consumers where they are.
Step 1: Collaborate to advance technology
If we’ve learned anything from healthcare’s digitization over the years, it’s that technology for technology’s sake is not enough – solving healthcare’s issues is a systems problem, not a disease problem. For telehealth to last, there needs to be a clinical transformation where workflows are rewritten, policies strongly incentivize its use and companies and hospitals partner on outcome-based models that support its scalability.
In the last six months, we have seen more innovation and adoption in healthcare than we’ve seen in the last decade, with typical innovation timelines of years becoming weeks or days. In many ways, this creativity and open innovation saved the U.S. healthcare system from collapsing and helped us survive the initial surge. We also saw the collaboration of all sorts reach new heights, with organizations, federal agencies, private and public companies from different industries coming together to manage surge capacity while maintaining quality care. Another benefit of these partnerships is the emphasis on long-term policy changes that will empower lasting change and adoption of these innovative approaches. Industry efforts, like ours with the ATA, aim to promote telehealth’s growth and support hospitals, payers, and patients across care settings. The pandemic’s productive collaboration cannot stop here. Instead, we should continue to bring dimensions of policy, clinical experience, and consumer voices to imbed telehealth into our everyday systems.
Step 2: Determine avenues for seamless data integration across settings
Telehealth’s power is not in its technical claims, but in the power of presenting caregivers with actionable, meaningful patient data so they can make data-driven care decisions with confidence. This is only made possible with interoperable, cloud-based solutions that collect, digest, and analyze data to inform care. With constant transfer of key patient data through connected devices, such as hospital-grade wearables and biosensors, and translating the data into useable insights, remote patient monitoring empowers care teams with the knowledge needed to intervene earlier and keep patients healthy at home.
Telehealth’s power expands beyond the home, supporting a continuum of care no matter what setting a patient is in. Remote monitoring within the hospital is the crux of minimizing infection risk, handling sudden increases in patient volumes and allocating resources appropriately. These include solutions such as centralized clinical command centers to achieve remote, holistic patient views, or technology that activates scalable patient monitoring for ICU ramp-ups. The solutions we deploy need to be enablers of seamless data transfer – from the ED to ICU, to post-acute and home setting. We now must ensure our informatics backbones mature with these solutions, eliminating gaps in care while ensuring a secure flow of data where and when it’s needed. Deploying cloud-based platforms that bring together the right information across the care continuum will make for a powerful, integrated system that enhances patient and staff safety improves outcomes, and reduces costs.
Step 3: Transforming what “home” means in healthcare
2020 has transformed how we view “home.” Home has become the center of life operations for people across the globe – we work from home, we educate our children at home and we exercise at home. Healthcare is now becoming another cornerstone of the home. With a growing volume of telehealth offerings and household names providing care services, consumer behavior is changing to expect customization, convenience, and instant gratification. The consumer’s voice is loud, and tomorrow’s healthcare will move it from a whisper to a shout – We must be prepared to deliver care when and where patients want to receive it, increasingly let go of healthcare’s brick-and-mortar blueprint, and enable healthcare to match the ease and convenience of other areas of a patient’s life.
However, just like all these other ‘at-home’ activities that require getting used to or training, we need to support health literacy and engagement for all users. The pandemic has made the inequalities in our health system raw. Even before the pandemic, 5% of the patients account for about half of U.S. healthcare spending. This is a sign that they are not receiving the proactive care and support they need. We have an opportunity to change this equation with virtual care and bridge the digital divide by tailoring solutions to meet each patient’s needs and ensuring equitable availability to all patients.
Transforming telehealth into a standard of care
Technology isn’t the answer to telehealth’s success alone – it is virtualizing care where it is needed most and ensuring it is fully integrated across an institution. Healthcare organizations should reflect on where their greatest challenges and populations are, and look for systematic solutions for telehealth so that virtualization can scale efficiently and build from existing technology and workflows. With productive collaboration across sectors, robust data integration infrastructures, and an evolved perception of how we view healthcare, these tools have the power to influence how patients view and engage with their health, pushing the industry toward more proactive care that will have long-term benefits on outcomes and cost.
About Karsten Russell-Wood
Karsten Russell-Wood, MBA, MPH is the Portfolio Leader for Post-Acute and Home at Philips where he is responsible for Innovation and cross-business platform strategy and portfolio optimization. Prior to joining Philips, Karsten held global product management roles within GE’s healthcare businesses with an orientation to targeted patient populations and continues to be active in venture capital and startups in the digital health space.
– Abbott launches new app, NeuroSphere myPath that will
allow patients to record their pain relief during the device trial period with
spinal cord stimulation or dorsal root ganglion therapy, simplify reporting
outcomes and connect patients to physicians who have real-time access to this
– NeuroSphere myPath will be available in the Apple App
Store in the coming weeks and will be compatible with the latest iOS operating
Abbott announced the
upcoming launch of NeuroSphere™ myPath™, a digital health app designed to track
and report on patient perceived pain relief and general well-being associated
with spinal cord stimulation (SCS) or dorsal root ganglion (DRG) therapy.
During the device trial period required before the permanent implant, the app
allows patients to record their outcomes on pain and well-being while trialing
their neurostimulation therapy.
NeuroSphere myPath Background
Abbott’s NeuroSphere myPath is a digital innovation
that will provide relief to the millions of Americans currently living with
chronic pain that are eligible for SCS or DRG therapy. This new digital health
app will allow patients to use their Apple mobile device to connect with Abbott support,
access educational resources and track the progress of their trial pain relief
Prior to committing to full implantation of a
neuromodulation device, patients undergo a trial period to test device
capabilities and capacity for pain relief. During the trial, temporary leads
are placed and connected to an external generator, allowing patients to
experience firsthand the impact of neuromodulation on their chronic pain and
Why It Matters
Chronic pain can negatively impact personal relationships,
work productivity and a person’s daily routine. Abbott is a global leader in
the development of chronic pain therapy solutions, offering radiofrequency
therapy and spinal cord stimulation therapy solutions, including radiofrequency
ablation generators and accessories, BurstDR™ stimulation, and dorsal root
ganglion stimulation in the portfolio of chronic pain treatments.
“The current digital healthcare landscape has revolutionized our ability to provide direct care for patients whenever they need,” said Shachi Patel, M.D., interventional pain management physician and owner of Delmarva Pain and Spine Center in Newark, Del. “By providing patients with a more seamless, easier way to record their progress during the trial period, Abbott’s NeuroSphere myPath app will enable an enhanced communication experience while providing patients with further insight on their overall outcomes and response to neuromodulation.”
The NeuroSphere myPath will be available on the Apple App
Store in the coming weeks and is expected to be available on Android devices in
Developers of digital health tools have benefited from a truncated route to market during the COVID-19 crisis, and that could be made permanent if new FDA guidance is adopted.
Pandemic emergency provisions were put in place in March last year to allow certain medical devices to be launched for use by patients without having to go through the FDA’s usual premarket notification requirements – also known as the 510(k) process.
That included some low-risk (Class IIa) digital health apps under the software as a medical device (SaMD) category, which can be used to minimise direct contact between patients and healthcare professionals at a time when non-essential visits are best avoided.
Now, the FDA is seeking comment on plans to make that emergency regulatory flexibility permanent, by doing away with the premarket review requirements altogether “for some or all of [these] devices”, according to a Federal Register notice (0991–ZA52).
The document is likely to be one of the last signed by Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Alex Azar, who has resigned from the role as preparations continue for the start of the new administration under President-elect Joe Biden on Wednesday.
Last April, the FDA temporary waiver covered digital health tools used specifically for psychiatric disorders, along with low-risk general wellness and digital health products for mental health or psychiatric conditions. The discretion also covered digital pathology tools and other medical devices like thermometers and ventilators.
Pandemic lockdowns mean patients with mental illness are less able to maintain contact with healthcare and support workers, placing them under added strain, and when it announced the measure the FDA said remote tools could help them cope until some degree of normal life can be restored.
The waiver meant that a number of apps were launched earlier than expected in the US, including Pear Therapeutics’ smartphone-based Pear-004 for people living with schizophrenia and Akili Therapeutics’ attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) app Endeavor (AKL-T01), as well as computerised cognitive assessment aids.
The experience so far seems to have been a success, given the FDA is considering making the exemption permanent for 91 devices and SaMD tools out of 221 Class I and Class II medical device types covered by the waiver categories.
“The exemptions provided for and proposed under this notice for these 91 device classes could eliminate anywhere from $9.1 to $364 million in startup costs if there were one new entrant into each device market,” says the guidance.
“At the same time, should these waivers go into effect as proposed, patients stand to gain more immediate access to new products that would otherwise be required to obtain a 510(k) clearance prior to marketing.”
The proposal would also spare FDA’s “scarce review resources” as a result of the pandemic and allow it to redeploy these elsewhere, including devices intended for use in managing CPOVID-19 patients.
The Internet of Medical Things (IoMT) is changing the face of healthcare and has the potential to significantly improve patient access as well as system efficiencies. The adoption of telemedicine, for example, spurred on by the Covid-19 pandemic, has spread rapidly. Forrester revised its forecasts to predict that virtual care visits in the United States will soar to more than one billion this year—including 900 million visits related to Covid-19 specifically. Likewise, in the United Kingdom, 40% of doctor’s appointments now consist of phone or video calls.
Even before the pandemic, the adoption of IoMT was already growing rapidly, with the market valued at US$44.5 billion in 2018 and predicted to reach US$254 billion in 2026. There are more than 500,000 medical devices on the market, helping to diagnose, monitor, and treat patients – and more and more of these can, and are, becoming connected – not to mention innovations yet to enter the market. The connected medical devices segment specifically is expected to exceed $52 billion by 2022.
The COVID-19 Effect
The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the healthcare landscape more than any other single event in recent memory. The urgent and widespread need for care, coupled with the challenge of physical distancing, has accelerated the creation and adoption of new digital technologies as well as new processes to support their adoption and implementation across healthcare. The MedTech industry is emerging as a key apparatus to combat the virus and provide urgent support.
A simple example demonstrating the potential benefits of IoMT can be seen even within a hospital setting, where monitoring COVID-19 patients is costly in terms of time and PPE (personal protective equipment) consumption, since simply walking into a patient’s room becomes a complex process. IoMT technologies enable medical devices to send data to medical practitioners who can monitor a patient’s condition without having to take readings at the bedside. The same technologies can enable patients who do not require hospitalization to be safely monitored while remaining at home or in a community setting.
From the patients’ perspective, many are embracing virtual healthcare as an alternative to long waits or having to go to a clinic or hospital altogether. And given the growing number and scope of connected medical devices and services, such as remote patient monitoring, therapy, or even diagnosis, there will be even more options in the future.
Catalyzed by the pandemic, the IoMT genie is fully out of the bottle, and it is unlikely to go back.
This is good news for healthcare and good news for patients and families. Patient access is improving as telehealth, supported by connected devices to enable the collection of health-related data remotely, is helping to lift barriers. This increase in accessibility has the potential to improve the convenience, timeliness, and even safety of access to healthcare services for more people in more places.
IoMT is lifting geographic barriers that have impeded access to healthcare since its very inception. Individuals with transportation or mobility challenges will no longer need to travel to receive routine care if they can be safely monitored while at home. Historically underserved rural or remote communities can gain access to medical specialists without needing to fly or drive great distances, while services can be delivered more cost-effectively.
Furthermore, with fewer clinic or hospital-based appointments required for routine monitoring of patients who are otherwise doing well, doctors would be able to concentrate their in-person time and clinic resources on those most in need of care.
The capacity for specialized medicine enabled by IoMT could also have a dramatic impact. The vast quantities of health data becoming available (with the requisite permissions in place), can enable sophisticated AI-driven health applications that can, for example, predict complications before they occur, better understand the health needs of specific populations, or enable stronger patient engagement and self-care. These models can also equip healthcare practitioners with better sources of information, ultimately leading to better patient outcomes.
That said, while technology capabilities expand, innovation must take into consideration the needs of all the stakeholders within healthcare – from patients and caregivers to healthcare practitioners to administrators and payors/funders. Internet access, infrastructure, and comfort with technology, for example, can pose significant barriers for patients and health practitioners alike.
One approach is to minimize the technological burden facing end-users. Devices should be user friendly and “ready to go” right out of the box, taking into consideration the circumstances and abilities of the potential range of users (patients and practitioners alike). Relying on the patient’s home Wi-Fi to provide connectivity is not ideal from either a usability or security perspective – not to mention availability and affordability. It is better for medical devices to have a cellular connection that can be immediately and securely connected to the network from any location, while also being remotely manageable to avoid burdening the user with network and setup requirements, or apps to download.
Another barrier is the concern that both patients and healthcare providers have about security and data privacy risks. According to the 2016 edition of Philips’ Future Health Index, privacy/data security is second only to cost in the list of top barriers to the adoption of connected technology in healthcare across the countries surveyed.
The Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency, FBI, and U.S. Department of Health and Human Services have warned of cybercrime threats against hospitals and healthcare providers. The WannaCry ransomware attacks affected tens of thousands of NHS medical tools in England and Scotland. The enthusiasm in rolling out new digital health solutions must not overlook security principles or create systems that rely on ad hoc patches.
One way of meeting the stringent security requirements of healthcare is to ensure that connected medical devices have security literally built into their hardware, following the most recent guidelines set out by the GSMA for IoT security, including the GSMA IoT SAFE specifications. In accordance with this globally relevant approach, connected devices have a specially designed SIM that serves as a mini “crypto safe” inside the device to ensure that only authorized communication can occur.
Similarly, new medical devices and software that are difficult to implement or cannot communicate with other systems such as electronic health/medical records risk being “orphaned” in the system or simply not used. The latter is a matter of both developing the necessary integrations and ensuring the appropriate access and permissions are managed. More easily said than done, fully integrated systems take time, and some of the pieces may be added incrementally – the key is that the potential to do so is there from the beginning so future resources can be invested in enhancements rather than replacements.
Early Collaboration is Key
Accessibility and usability must be designed right into IoMT solutions from the outset, and the best way of ensuring that is for developers and healthcare stakeholders to have plenty of interaction long before the product enters the market. Stakeholders are many and healthcare systems are complex, so innovators can look to startup accelerators and other thought leaders to help navigate the territory. The time and effort spent by innovators and healthcare stakeholders in collaborating is a sound investment in the future, ensuring that technology is designed and then applied in meaningful and equitable ways to address the most pressing issues.
The telehealth genie, powered by IoMT, is indeed out of the bottle and is set to revolutionize healthcare. By ensuring that IoMT technologies are developed and implemented with security, accessibility, and ease of use for all stakeholders as priorities, we can make sure that the full benefits of this new dawn can be enjoyed by all.
Heidi Sveistrup, Ph.D. Bio
As the current CEO of the Bruyère Research Institute and VP, Research and Academic Affairs at Bruyère Continuing Care, Heidi Sveistrup, Ph.D. is focusing on increasing the research and innovation supporting pivotal transitions in care; meaningful, enjoyable and doable ways to support people to live where they choose; and creating opportunities to discover and create new approaches to identify, diagnose, treat and support brain health with individuals with memory loss. Fostering new and supporting existing collaborations among researchers, policymakers, practitioners, civil society and industry continues to be a priority.
Elza Seregelyi Bio
Elza Seregelyi is the Director for the TELUS L-SPARK MedTech Accelerator program, which offers participants pre-commercial access to a secure telehealth platform. L-SPARK is currently working with its first cohort of MedTech companies. Elza has an engineering and entrepreneurship background with extensive experience driving collaborative initiatives.
Belgian drugmaker UCB has been steadily building its digital health expertise for several years, and that includes nurturing new projects. One of those is now being launched as a new company – Nile AI – that aims to improve the care of people with epilepsy.
UCB is bankrolling Los Angeles-based Nile with €25 million (around $29 million) in startup cash and will be a majority shareholder, with a presence on the company’s board as well as options on acquiring “data and insights” from its platform.
Nile is being formed to develop a digital health platform – consisting of a patient app that links to a portal for healthcare professionals – that can use data from patients’ past epileptic seizures to try to predict future attacks.
The patient app connects individuals with their care team, and provides information about their treatment and progress, while the portal shows the status of patients, maintains support between consultations, and allows data-driven decisions on treatment and care, according to UCB.
The digital tools are being piloted at Massachusetts General Hospital and Michigan State University Healthcare, and the aim is to have it ready for a commercial launch before the end of this year.
“We know that patients suffering from epilepsy struggle with the unpredictable nature of their lives,” said Dr Leo Petrossian, Nile AI’s CEO.
“Every single day they awake uncertain of what they can expect. At Nile, we believe that all of the data to predict the path of an epilepsy patient exists, though it is fragmented and disconnected.”
Nile’s software operates as a care management system, and cam be used to address this uncertainty, he continued, with the ultimate goal of shortening the time it takes for people with epilepsy to be on the best care available.
It’s a mission that dovetails with UCB’s position as a well-established player in the epilepsy category. Medicines like Vimpat (lacosamide), Keppra (levetiracetam), Briviact (brivaracetam) and recent launch Nayzilam (midazolam) nasal spray collectively make upwards of €2.3 billion a year and account for almost half of its net sales.
UCB added to its range last June with the $270 million acquisition of Engage Therapeutics and its Staccato Alprazolam product for the rapid termination of seizures.
“UCB has a deep understanding of epilepsy and the challenges that people living with the disease face every day, including how patients communicate with their healthcare providers,” said the Belgian firm’s head of neurology Charl Van Zyl.
“We think Nile’s platform can provide valuable insights and foster a better care management experience for people living with epilepsy.”
– Today, CVS Health announced Symphony, a medical alert
system designed to keep seniors safe and connected at home.
– Symphony consists of a collection of in-home and wearable devices that offer a new at-home experience by connecting a suite of sensors that can monitor for falls, motion, and room temperature while also providing a 24/7 personal emergency response platform for use when needed.
CVS Health, today announced the release of Symphony medical
alert system to help caregivers monitor the safety and well-being of loved
ones, even from afar. This collection of in-home and wearable devices offers a
new at-home experience by connecting a suite of sensors that can monitor for
falls, motion, and room temperature while also providing a 24/7 personal
emergency response platform for use when needed. Symphony is designed to support
the growing number of seniors choosing to maintain an independent lifestyle at
home, as well as those involved in their care.
Spurred in part by COVID, as you may know, an increasing
number of seniors are choosing to “age in place.” But COVID has also
highlighted major challenges in staying connected to loved ones while socially
isolated. Enter Symphony…a collection of in-home and wearable devices that
are now available in approx. 650 CVSH HUBs and online.
Unlike other systems that require a wearable alert device,
Symphony includes a voice-activated Smart Hub that lets seniors call assigned
caregivers or emergency responders hands-free 24/7. Sensors placed around
the house can monitor motion, temperature, and air quality and alert caregivers
of anything out of the ordinary through a free caregiver smartphone app.
Symphony system also provides alerts for falls or other emergencies and can
assist with facilitating care coordination when needed.
Symphony is the latest example of ways in which CVS Health is supporting seniors at home. Organizations like SilverSneakers® are providing virtual exercise classes to help seniors stay active from the comfort of their homes. And Aetna partnered with the companionship benefit company Papa, Inc., to connect Medicare Advantage members with college-age individuals who can provide remote companionship through the telephone. These are in addition to more traditional services, like virtual care, and SDOH resources like grocery delivery, housekeeping, and others.
Designed to fit a family’s specific needs and adapt to a variety of homes, two easy-to-use Symphony device options are available: the Basic Bundle and Essential Bundle. While both systems come equipped with the Smart Hub and a wearable care button, the Essential Bundle also includes motion sensors and a voice-activated Fall Sensor to automatically detect falls in the bathroom, where the majority of accidents occur. Complementary devices are available for both bundles if desired, including additional motion sensors to extend the range of coverage in larger homes, and entry sensors for use on doors, cabinets, or windows.
Pricing starts at $149.99 for the Symphony Basic Bundle and
$249.99 for the Essential Bundle. A monthly service fee is required, although
no long-term contract is needed to activate. Once activated, each Symphony
bundle can help support safety at home as well as in the event of an emergency.
“We’re committed to helping consumers on their path to better health and new consumer health innovations like Symphony can help give caregivers peace of mind as they monitor a loved one’s safety and well-being through a truly differentiated connected health approach,” said Adam Pellegrini, SVP of Enterprise Virtual Care & Consumer Health at CVS Health.
– DTx and Patient Support leaders, Amalgam Rx, Inc., announce the acquisition of Avhana Health, a privately-held clinical decision support (CDS) company.
Amalgam Rx, Inc., a Wilmington,
DE-based Digital Therapeutics and Patient Support company, announces the acquisition
of Avhana Health, a privately held
clinical decision support (CDS) company, which has deep integrations with the
leading electronic health records (EHR). As part of the acquisition, Amalgam Rx
will expand Avhana’s CDS tools to multiple therapeutic areas and combine them
with other digital solutions to simplify doctors’ workflows.
Founded in 2014, Avhana Health is a clinical decision
support startup used by doctors to support real-time adoption of and adherence
to clinical quality guidelines. Avhana’s SaaS-based CDS tool has been
implemented in more than 150 provider groups and identifies over $120 million a
year in cost savings. Enabling real-time two-way interactions within the EHR, Avhana optimizes
provider workflow beyond simple data integration.
“EHR integration is the Holy Grail for digital health solutions, but it’s not only about data integration; workflow optimization is even more important. Providers, working at the nexus of digital health adoption and scaling, will only adopt tools that are safe, effective, and embedded in their workflow. The combination of Avhana and Amalgam will bring us closer to realizing digital health’s tremendous potential,” said Ryan Sysko, chief executive officer of Amalgam Rx.
EtectRx, which makes wireless sensors embedded in medications, struck a partner with Pear Therapeutics. The companies hope to build products together combining medication adherence data with digital therapeutics.
Flo, a popular period-tracking app, reached a settlement with the FTC over allegations that it misled users about how their health information would be shared. As part of the settlement, the startup is required to conduct an independent review of its privacy practices.
– NRC Health today released its 2021 Healthcare Consumer
Trends Report, which surveyed 2 million healthcare consumers against the
backdrop of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
– The latest report highlights the major trends that came to light last year, and how they will continue to impact the healthcare industry in 2021 and beyond – from declining brand loyalty, increased care deferment, the fast adoption of telehealth, a rise in wearable tech, and a broader focus on social media marketing.
– Hospital leaders will also find value in learning how
to recapture patient volumes lost in 2020 and how to bring more human
understanding into the care experience.
NRC Health, a provider of in-depth
customer intelligence in healthcare, today released its 2021 Healthcare Consumer Trends Report. For its
third-annual industry review, NRC Health surveyed millions of healthcare
consumers against the backdrop of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. From
declining brand loyalty, increased care deferment, the fast adoption of
telehealth, a rise in wearable tech and a broader focus on social media
marketing, NRC Health’s latest report shines a light on consumers’ evolving
preferences and behaviors related to key healthcare trends and offers insight
into how provider organizations can recapture patient volumes in 2021.
COVID-19 Accelerated the Trajectory of Consumerism in
“It cannot be overstated just how dramatically COVID-19 has accelerated the trajectory of consumerism in healthcare,” said Helen Hrdy, Chief Growth Officer, NRC Health. “The onus falls on healthcare leaders to move the industry forward by ensuring patient safety, building consumer trust and bringing more human understanding into every care experience. Those organizations that are willing and able to evolve with the times will be best-positioned for success in the aftermath of COVID-19.”
“For years, consumers have made consistent appeals for autonomy, convenience, and freedom of choice,” said Hrdy. “As unsettling as it’s been, COVID-19 has brought some of these consumerist-driven measures to the forefront. While healthcare leaders have proven they can be nimble and adaptable, even in the face of crisis, consumers want a partnership with their providers and a care experience that exceeds their expectations moving forward. But only with the right data and the right understanding, can we ensure that healthcare is capable of adapting.”
4 Key Healthcare Consumerism Trends to Know in 2021
1. Consumers favor convenience, provider rapport over brand loyalty
Consumer loyalty is a major driver of health system
profitability, but unfortunately for hospitals and health systems, overall
brand preference among healthcare consumers continues to decline, from 31% in
2018 to 36% in 2020. More than a third of consumers expressed no particular
preference for a healthcare brand, when compared against independent
practitioners, and 62% anticipate their brand preferences to change after the
Ironically, providers themselves are in the best position to
earn back consumer trust. An analysis from NRC Health’s Real-time Feedback
database shows that consumers report an overwhelming fondness for their
providers, especially since the outbreak began. To capitalize on that goodwill
and bring patients back into the healthcare fold, all evidence points to
convenience. Almost half of consumers say a convenient location is the number
one factor in their healthcare decision-making.
2. Patient deferment rates will continue to rise
Prior to the pandemic, healthcare deferral rates were
approaching a five-year low. But with consumer anxiety at an all-time high due
to the pandemic, those rates rose significantly in 2020, up from 22.4% at the
end of March to 30.4% by the end of June. Forty percent of patients who delayed
care in 2020 cited the coronavirus as the reason, while 17.2% said they prefer
to manage their care on their own for now.
Delaying care can have a number of repercussions, from
threatening hospital revenue streams in the near term to causing far more
serious outcomes for consumers in the long term. Patients 75 and older
accounted for nearly 68% of all care delays, revealing a huge challenge for
health systems as they try to recruit this generation back into regular care.
3. Future of care delivery looks
uncertain after rapid telehealth adoption
Lagging in widespread adoption for years, the pandemic fast
tracked virtual care delivery from optional luxury to operational necessity.
Fortunately, consumers have been receptive to the shift, with an overwhelming
92% reporting positive telehealth experiences during this time. However, only
27% of consumers say they will consider telehealth as a potential alternative
for future visits, underscoring what is still an uncertain future for virtual
health and overall care delivery beyond the pandemic. Prioritizing provider
time and attentiveness, as well as financial transparency, will be key as
healthcare organizations work to cultivate effective telehealth practices long
4. Patients and providers still disconnected over digital
may have brought healthcare into consumers’ homes, but it is by no means the
only avenue to reach customers outside of the healthcare facility. By and
large, consumers are enthusiastic about digital innovations that bring them
closer to their provider — even as these innovations are underutilized by
tech, for example, has become a huge part of the average consumer’s daily
life in regards to how they manage their health and wellness from home. Yet
only 50% of providers are asking about wearable tech data during appointments,
despite the fact that 57% of consumers believe this data would be useful in
conversations with their healthcare providers.
Social media is another under-used digital venue for patient
interaction. Even though 72% of Americans have some kind of social media
profile, many health systems have not yet found an optimal strategy for
engagement. And while currently, only 23% of Internet users are actively
seeking health information on social media, that number is likely to soon rise
as 70% percent of consumers expressed interest in getting healthcare
information via social channels. Another 62% said they trust the health information
they get on social media, so long as it comes directly from their provider.
This was especially true during the worst of the pandemic, when consumers
trusted news from local healthcare organizations more than any other sources.
– NeuroFlow raises $20M to expand its technology-enabled behavioral
health integration platform, led by Magellan Health.
– NeuroFlow’s suite of HIPAA-compliant, cloud-based tools
simplify remote patient monitoring, enable risk stratification, and facilitate
collaborative care. With NeuroFlow, health care organizations can finally
bridge the gap between mental and physical health in order to improve outcomes
and reduce the cost of care.
NeuroFlow, a Philadelphia-based digital health startup supporting technology-enabled behavioral health integration (tBHI), announces today the initial closing of a $20M Series B financing round led by Magellan Health, in addition to a syndicate including previous investors. Magellan is a leader in managing the fastest growing, most complex areas of health, including behavioral health, complete pharmacy benefits and other specialty areas of healthcare.
NeuroFlow for Digital Behavioral Health Integration
NeuroFlow works with leading health plans, provider systems,
as well as the U.S. military and government to enhance virtual health programs
by delivering a comprehensive approach to whole-person care through digital
behavioral health integration – an evidence-based model to identify and treat
consumers with depression, anxiety and other behavioral health conditions
across all care settings.
Key features of the behavioral health platform include:
– Interoperability: Seamless EHR and system integrations minimize administrative burden and optimize current IT investments.
– Measurement-based Care & Clinical Decision Support: NeuroFlow enables MBC at scale, keeps the patient in the center of care, and continuously monitors for a consistent connection to critical data and clinical decision support.
– Performance Management & Reporting: Recognize
the impact of your BHI program, monitoring the impact of clinical interventions
on quality and cost of care while recognizing outliers requiring program
– Consumer Engagement & Self-Care: personalized
experience that encourages, rewards and recognizes continuous engagement and
Maximize Efficiency, Revenue and Reimbursements
By integrating behavioral health into the primary care setting, increasing screening and self-care plans – NeuroFlow’s BHI solution can reduce ED utilization by 23% and inpatient visits by 10%. 80% of NeuroFlow users self-reported a reduction in depression or anxiety symptoms and 62% of users with severe depression score improve to moderate or better.
Telehealth Adoption Underscores Need for Behavioral
With record growth in telehealth adoption and historic spikes in depression and anxiety due to the ongoing pandemic, workflow augmentation solutions and the delivery of effective behavioral health care have been identified as top priorities in the industry. NeuroFlow’s technology increases access to personalized, collaborative care while empowering primary care providers, care managers, and other specialists to most effectively support patient populations by accounting for and addressing behavioral health.
“Behavioral health is not independent of our overall health — it affects our physical health and vice versa, yet most underlying behavioral health conditions go unidentified or are ineffectively treated. Most healthcare providers are overburdened, so introducing the concept to account for a person’s mental health in addition to their primary specialty can be overwhelming and lead to inconsistent and inadequate treatment,” said NeuroFlow CEO Chris Molaro. “Technology, when used strategically, can enhance and augment providers, making the concept of holistic and value-based care feasible at scale and easy to implement.”
Strategic Partnership with Magellan
Magellan Health’s network of more than 118,000 credentialed
providers and health professionals are now poised to join NeuroFlow customers
across the country by leveraging the best-in-class integrated data and
analytics platform to meet the rising demand for enhanced mental health
services and support. By partnering with and investing in NeuroFlow, Magellan
has the opportunity to drive further adoption of NeuroFlow’s behavioral health
integration tools and drive collaborative care initiatives with its customers
as well as its vast network of credentialed providers and health professionals
across the country.
NeuroFlow will use the Series B proceeds to scale its
operations and support its growth in data analytics, artificial intelligence,
and direct health record integrations. NeuroFlow’s contracted user base has
grown 10x to over 330,000 in support of almost 200 commercial health systems,
payers, accountable care organizations, independent medical groups, and federal
agencies to provide technology-enabled care solutions.
Israeli company Itamar Medical has agreed to acquire Spry Health, aiming to use the US company’s wearable technology to develop a watch-like remote monitor for sleep apnoea, a potentially life-threatening condition.
Itamar already markets a sensing device called WatchPAT that attaches to the finger during sleep, measuring vital signs like heart and breathing rate, oxygen levels in the blood, and changes the volume of blood pumped during a heartbeat – known as peripheral arterial tone (PAT).
That is only suitable for a single night’s measurement, however, and Itamar hopes that by adding Spry’s wearable technology it will be able to develop a device that would be suitable for continuous monitoring of sleep apnoea over weeks or even months.
That could provide a clearer picture of the seriousness of the condition, and the accumulated burden of sleep apnoea on a patient’s heart and vascular system.
Sleep apnoea is caused when relaxation of the muscles in the throat cause the airway to narrow, reducing the amount of air taken in and out with each breath. Sometimes the airway can be shut off completely, and if that lasts for 10 seconds or more it is classed as obstructive sleep apnoea.
In severe cases, apnoea episodes can occur hundreds of times a night, each causing a brief period of wakefulness or shallower sleep.
Symptoms are snoring and feeling sleepy during the daytime, but the underlying effects can be damaging and can lead to other health problems, including high blood pressure, heart attack, stroke and diabetes. The condition affects around 54 million people in the US alone.
Spry’s Loop System wearable has already been approved by the FDA for the collection of physiological data like oxygen levels, respiration and heart rate in patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and other chronic health conditions.
It does so by emitting electromagnetic waves through the skin. It then measures the reflection of light frequencies to define the concentration of specific molecules in the blood.
Repurposing for sleep apnoea should be fairly swift – Itamar reckons it could have approval for the apnoea indication in 2022. There are other advantages as well, including the fact that the device already has the necessary codes for reimbursement in the US healthcare system.
Itamar’s chief executive Gilad Glick said the Loop System is a “perfect fit” with its aim of developing a continuous wearable monitor for sleep apnoea.
“While finger-based monitoring yields the highest accuracy, it is currently not suitable for longer-term wear,” he added. “A device that is designed for the wrist, while potentially less accurate for precise disease diagnostics, is more suitable for monitoring the continuous accumulated burden of sleep apnoea and its potential impact on other diseases.”
The technology also gives Itamar an opportunity to extend its focus into other diseases areas like COPD, addressing a larger slice of the remote patient monitoring (RPM) market that is predicted to reach a value of $2 billion worldwide in 2027.
Jonathan Siddharth, co-founder and CEO of Turing, talks about how the company provides access to a global pool of 170,000 talented software engineers in more than 50 countries to support the healthcare industry and other sectors.
In an increasingly crowded landscape, digital health startups must figure out what sets them apart. Three startup leaders shared what differentiates their companies from the competition at this year’s J.P. Morgan Healthcare Conference.
– Teladoc Health and Dexcom announced an expanded
partnership on a new offering measures the impact of continuous glucose
monitoring and real-time health recommendations for people with Type 2 diabetes
at no cost.
“We are excited to announce the next phase of our relationship with Teladoc Health, along with launching a commercial pilot demonstrating how Dexcom’s leading CGM combined with Teladoc Health’s data science capabilities enhance the diabetes management experience,” said Matt Dolan, senior vice president and general manager of new markets for Dexcom. “We have received powerful feedback from people with Type 2 diabetes using our technology, and through additional innovative product features, we fully anticipate that we will deliver an even greater impact.”
The expanded partnership includes two developments:
1. Enhanced product capabilities through CGM-powered
insights, a new set of features and reports that help members more easily
visualize their health information and understand how lifestyle decisions
affect their blood glucose levels. By combining Dexcom CGM data with additional signals from
Teladoc Health, including activity data and food intake, CGM-powered insights offer members a complete health profile and recommendations
that support ongoing diabetes management.
2. A pilot program demonstrating the impact of CGM-powered
insights for people with Type 2 diabetes. Eligible members will receive an
integrated product experience including the Livongo for Diabetes program, Dexcom
CGM technology and CGM-powered insights at no cost.
“Teladoc Health’s partnership with Dexcom further empowers whole person health through an innovative combination of advanced technology and human expertise,” said Amar Kendale, chief product officer of Teladoc Health. “Our focus is to offer a consumer experience that makes it easy, safe and affordable for people to manage their health with confidence. We are excited about our continued work with Dexcom and new features that enable smarter care, leading to measurable consumer behavior change and better health outcomes.”
Why It Matters
It is estimated that 463 million adults around the world
live with diabetes,
a number expected to rise to 700 million by 2045. According to the Centers for
Disease Control and Prevention, regular physical activity, weight management,
and improved blood pressure management are important factors for preventing
– Nuance Communications, Inc. launched an AI-powered
patient engagement virtual assistant platform to transform omnichannel digital
experiences for patients.
–Healthcare provider organizations can now deploy
a single, common cloud-based platform to support their entire patient journey
across engagement channels using Nuance’s market-leading Intelligent Engagement
– The launch comes as patients increasingly expect the
same level of engaging experiences from healthcare organizations that they have
with consumer brands.
Communications, Inc., today launched an AI-powered patient
engagement virtual assistant platform to transform voice and digital
experiences across the patient journey. The platform combines Nuance’s decades
of healthcare expertise and its award-winning AI technology trusted by consumer
brands like H&M, Rakuten and Best Buy. It works by integrating and
extending Nuance’s EHR, CRM and Patient Access Center systems to enable
healthcare provider organizations to modernize their “digital front door” and
improve clinical care experiences.
Holistic Approach to Healthcare’s New Digital Front Door
Patients are demanding the same conveniences from healthcare
organizations that they enjoy from major consumer brands. A recent survey reveals that consumers are ready for
digital changes such as telemedicine options (44%), digital forms and
communication (41%), and touchless check-in (37%). What’s more, 68% value a
customized patient experience. In fact, a poor digital health experience caused
more than a quarter of patients to change medical providers in 2020 — up 40
percent from 2019.
“Our new omnichannel Patient Engagement Virtual
Assistant Platform takes a holistic approach to powering healthcare’s new
digital front door, overcoming the shortcomings and inconsistencies of partial
point solutions,” said Peter Durlach, Senior Vice President, Strategy
and New Business Development, Nuance. “By marrying the capabilities of our
healthcare experience and the proven omnichannel customer engagement technology
trusted by Fortune 100 companies worldwide, we can help address the
urgent need of providers and patients alike to transform access to, and
delivery of, care in the modern age of digital medicine.”
– Frenova Renal Research, a global division of Fresenius
Medical Care, announced today that it has started to enroll patients in its
new endeavor to build the world’s largest genomics registry targeting kidney
– The registry will be used to help advance understanding
of the genetic drivers of kidney disease and shape more precise, individualized
Medical Care, the world’s leading provider of products and services for
people with chronic kidney failure, announced today that the company’s Frenova division has enrolled the first
participants in its new initiative to develop the largest renal-focused genomic
registry in the world. In addition, the company announced that Ali Gharavi, MD,
Chief of the Division of Nephrology at Columbia University Irving Medical
Center and Professor of Medicine at Columbia University Vagelos College of
Physicians and Surgeons, will lead the project and provide scientific guidance
as Principal Investigator.
Why It Matters
Nephrology has been under-represented in clinical research,
even as rapid progress in gene sequencing and analysis has led to advances in
precision medicine and individualized care in oncology, cardiology and other
medical areas. Frenova’s new genomic registry will contain genetic sequencing
data from chronic kidney disease patients worldwide, which will be used by
researchers to improve the understanding of kidney disease. Frenova developed
the registry after researchers identified the lack of a large-scale,
renal-focused registry of genomic and clinical data as a major impediment to
kidney disease research.
As a contract clinical development services company
dedicated exclusively to medicines and medical products in renal research,
Frenova orchestrates studies within the clinical footprint of Fresenius Medical
Care, which provides dialysis treatments to about 350,000 patients around the
globe. The renal-focused genomic registry represents a new business line within
Frenova, which is based in Fresenius Medical Care’s Global Medical Office. As
part of its growth strategy 2025, Fresenius Medical Care is using digital
technologies and the capability to analyze huge amounts of data to develop
new forms of renal therapy.
“The new Frenova registry will close this gap by generating data that adds a clinical and genetic backbone to help support and fuel scientific innovation,” said Franklin W. Maddux, MD, Global Chief Medical Officer of Fresenius Medical Care. “The evidence for genetic drivers in kidney diseases is substantial, but much larger data sets will be needed to untangle the complex interactions that lead to kidney injury. By combining clinical and genetic sequencing data from ethnically and pathologically diverse participants, this genomic and phenotypic research resource will help scientists better understand how genetic variations in patients can lead to more precise diagnoses and therapies that help improve outcomes by individualizing care.”
With the ink barely dry on its last merger agreement, clinical trial and imaging specialist Bioclinica is on an expansive drive once again, buying digital clinical trial specialist Saliency.
Silicon Valley-based Saliency adds an artificial intelligence (AI) powered software platform that speeds up analysis of medical images and is used to support trials of pharmaceuticals and medical devices.
Just before the New Year, Bioclinica announced its merger with ERT, ramping up the digitisation of its clinical imaging platform with ERT’s expertise in electronic clinical outcome assessment, cardiac safety, respiratory and wearables.
That deal was directed squarely at improving endpoint data collection in clinical trials, and adding Saliency to the platform takes that effort up a gear.
According to Bioclinica, the AI technology will “dramatically accelerate [its] image processing and quality control capabilities to support a wide range of therapeutic areas”.
The last few years has already seen a big increase in the use of digital technologies to improve subject recruitment retention and access, boost engagement, harvest data and improve the blinding of controlled trials. That trend came even more to the fore in 2020, as the coronavirus pandemic hit face-to-face clinical work.
Digital promises to improve the efficiency of trials, getting results more quickly whilst also reducing costs and – in theory at least – speeding up the time it takes to get new medicinal products approved and onto the market.
Saliency’s platform uses proprietary algorithms to build and train AI models from a small number of de-identified images. The models can be used to screen, redact, or interpret medical images and will be embedded in Bioclinica’s imaging tools.
“Clients rely on us for time-sensitive expert-level image interpretation for their clinical trials so they can focus on outcomes,” said Dan Gebow, chief innovation officer at Princeton, New Jersey-based Bioclinica.
“We evaluated a variety of medical imaging AI platforms and know the Saliency platform is head and shoulders above others in the market in its ability to deliver value for our clients.”
Saliency’s co-founders, Stanford researchers Kevin Thomas and Łukasz Kidziński, will join Bioclinica’s image science team.
The shift towards virtual clinical trials accelerated by the pandemic has also stimulated a flurry of M&A activity amongst technology providers in the last few months.
Last November, for example, digital trial specialist VirTrial was acquired by Signant Health, which provides clinical trial management systems (CTMS), while in the prior month clinical trial data company Medidata snapped up sensor maker MC10’s digital biomarker and wearables business.
ERT meanwhile bought wearable specialist APDM ahead of the merger with Bioclinica, while private equity firm GI Partners took a majority stake in Clinical Ink, which offers a platform for capturing and integrating electronic data from clinical sites.
Since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, hospitals and health systems have pushed forward with innovative technology solutions with great expediency and proficiency. Healthcare organizations were quick to launch telehealth solutions and advance digital health to maintain critical patient relationships and ensure continuity of care. Behind the scenes, hospitals and health systems have been equally adept at advancing technology solutions to support and enhance clinical care delivery. This includes adopting clinical surveillance systems to better predict and prevent an escalation of the coronavirus.
Clinical surveillance systems use real-time and historical patient data to identify emerging clinical patterns, allowing clinicians to intervene in a timely, effective manner. Over time, these clinical surveillance systems have evolved to help healthcare organizations meet their data analytic, surveillance, and regulatory compliance needs. The adaptability of these systems is evidenced by their expanded use during the pandemic. Healthcare organizations quickly pivoted to incorporate COVID-19 updates into their clinical surveillance activities, providing a centralized, global view of COVID-19 cases.
To gain insight into the COVID-19 crisis, critical data points include patient age, where the disease was likely contracted, whether the patient was tested, and how long the patient was in the ICU, among other things. Surveillance is also able to factor in whether patients have pre-existing conditions or problems with blood clotting, for example. This data trail is helping providers create a constantly evolving coronavirus profile and provides key data points for healthcare providers to share with state and local governments and public health agencies. In the clinical setting, the data are being used to better predict respiratory and organ failure associated with the virus, as well as flag COVID-19 patients at risk for developing sepsis.
What’s driving these advancements? Clinical surveillance systems powered by artificial intelligence (AI). By refining the use of AI for clinical surveillance, we can proactively identify an expanding range of acute and chronic health conditions with greater speed and accuracy. This has tremendous implications in the clinical setting beyond the current pandemic. AI-powered clinical surveillance can save lives and reduce costs for conditions that have previously proven resistant to prevention.
Eliminating healthcare-associated infections
Despite ongoing prevention efforts, healthcare-associated infections (HAIs) continue to plague the US healthcare system, costing up to $45 billion a year.According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), about one in 31 hospitalized patients will have at least one HAI on any given day. AI can analyze millions of data points to predict patients at-risk for HAIs, enabling clinicians to respond more quickly to treat patients before their infection progresses, as well as prevent spread among hospitalized patients.
Building trust in AI
While the benefits are clear, challenges remain to the widespread adoption and use of AI in the clinical setting. Key among them is a lack of trust among clinicians and patients around the efficacy of AI. Many clinicians remain concerned over the validity of the data, as well as uncertainty over the impact of the use of AI on their workflow. Patients, in turn, express concerns over AI’s ability to address their unique needs, while also maintaining patient privacy. Hospitals and health systems must build trust among clinicians and patients around the use of AI by demonstrating its ability to enhance outcomes, as well as the patient experience.
3 keys to building trust in AI
Building trust among clinicians and patients can be achieved through transparency, expanding data access, and fostering focused collaboration.
1. Support transparency
Transparency is essential to the successful adoption of AI in the clinical setting. In healthcare, just giving clinicians a black box that spits out answers isn’t helpful. Clinicians need “explainability,” a visual picture of how and why the AI-enabled tool reached its prediction, as well as evidence that the AI solution is effective. AI surveillance solutions are intended to support clinical decision making, not serve as a replacement.
2. Expand data access
Volume and variety of data are central to AI’s predictive power. The ability to optimize emerging tools depends on comprehensive data access throughout the healthcare ecosystem, no small task as large amounts of essential data remain siloed, unstructured, and proprietary.
3. Foster focused collaboration
Clinicians and data scientists must collaborate in developing AI tools. In isolation, data scientists don’t have the context for interpreting variables they should be considering or excluding in a solution. Conversely, doctors working alone may bias AI by telling it what patterns to look for. The whole point of AI is how great it is at finding patterns we may not even consider. While subject matter expertise should not bias algorithms,
it is critical in structuring the inputs, evaluating the outputs, and effectively incorporating those outputs in clinical workflows. More open collaboration will enable clinicians to make better diagnostic and treatment decisions by leveraging AI’s ability to comb through millions of data points, find patterns, and surface critically relevant information.
AI-enabled clinical surveillance has the potential to deliver next-generation decision-support tools that combine the powerful technology, the prevention focus of public health, and the diagnosis and treatment expertise of clinicians. Surveillance is poised to assume a major role in attaining the quality and cost outcomes our industry has long sought.
John Langton is director of applied data science at Wolters Kluwer, Health, where artificial intelligence is being used to fundamentally change approaches to healthcare. @wkhealth
– The new fund will focus on investing between $10 to $30M in
commercial-stage digital health companies and technology-enabled service
businesses that are improving the healthcare system.
– Led by Todd Cozzens, Dr. Jared Kesselheim and Mike Dixon, Transformation
Capital manages over $800 million across the investment funds it advises and
was founded on the premise that healthcare requires a highly
focused investment approach combining deep industry expertise and vast
– Transformation Capital sees enormous opportunity to attack
waste and drive efficiencies, leverage patient-specific information to deliver
data-driven, tailored care with better outcomes, and give the consumer what they
need to select and pay for healthcare more proactively.
– Transformation Capital portfolio companies include Kyruus, H1,
Olive, Datavant, RapidSOS, PlushCare, Panalgo, LetsGetChecked, Protenus,
PatientPop, PatientPing, Health Catalyst, etc.
Healthcare technology companies raised a record of $15.3 billion in 2020, according to a report from Silicon Valley Bank. For the first time, digital health companies surpassed biopharma for the number of deals.
HIT Consultant sat down with Mike McSherry, CEO, and co-founder of Seattle-based digital prescription platform Xealth to discuss digital health lessons learned in 2020 and what we can expect in 2021. As Xealth’s CEO, Mike also works with Duke Health, UPMC, Atrium Health, and The Froedtert & the Medical College of Wisconsin health network where he uses his background in digital health to connect patients and care teams outside of traditional care settings.
HITC: In 2021, How can digital health reduce race and minority disparities in healthcare?
McSherry: The U.S. has struggled with health disparities, which this pandemic has widened. Many of these disparities can be linked to access, which digital health can assist with – telehealth makes care virtual from any location, clinical decision support can reduce human errors, remote patient monitoring helps keep patients home while linked to care.
Digital health removes hurdles related to transportation, taking time off work, or finding childcare in order to travel in-person for an appointment. It brings care to the patient instead of the other way around, making access simpler. Care through these pathways is also more cost-efficient.
There are still hurdles to overcome. Broadband is widespread but not everywhere and inclusive design of these tools should be considered. How digital tools, including wearables, are built should address differences in gender and ethnicity, especially as these tools are used more frequently in clinical trials, so as not to inadvertently perpetuate disparities.
HITC: Why some hospitals are offering digital health tools to staff but not patients?
McSherry: There are a few factors at play when hospitals offer digital health tools to staff but not patients. One, most health systems are not currently deploying system-wide digital health initiatives, leaving the decisions to individual departments or providers. This can lead to inconsistent patient experiences and more data siloes as solutions are brought in as one-offs.
The second issue is reimbursement. A hospital acting as an employer offering digital health tools as part of its benefits package is different than a patient, who must rely on their health insurance, whether it is a public or private plan. The fact healthcare organizations see digital health tools as a perk shows their value. Now, it is time for CMS and commercial payers to consistently enable their use to help providers care for patients and incorporate digital health as clinicians see fit.
HITC: How hospitals can remain competitive in 2021, especially after tighter margins from COVID-19?
McSherry: Large tech companies, like Google and Amazon, and huge retailers, including Walmart and Best Buy, are looking to deliver the promise of health care that has so far eluded the industry. Venture capital money has been pouring in for funding innovation, with digital health funding hitting a new high in 2020.
These initiatives are all racing to control health care’s front door and if hospitals don’t innovate as well, they run a very real risk of having patients turn elsewhere for care. Payers are also building digital front doors and telling members to go there. People have long expressed their desire to have the same consumer experience in health care that they receive in other industries. The technology is there. It needs to be incorporated with the correct care pathways.
One silver lining during the COVID-19 pandemic is that it showed fast-moving innovation can happen in health care. We worked with hospitals to stand up workflows around telehealth in four days and remote patient monitoring in seven days – an amazing pace. The key is to keep this stride going once we are on the other side of this crisis.
Providers are becoming more digitally savvy to engage patients and deliver holistic care. Hospitals should support this.
HITC: What will be Biden’s impact on COVID-19, how hospital leaders should respond, and what it means that we have a divided congress?
McSherry: Under the current administration, telehealth rules have been relaxed, at least temporarily, along with cross-state licensure so providers are better able to build a front door strategy, helping organizations roll out remote patient monitoring and chronic care management apps. Biden has been a proponent of digitalization in health care and will have a broader engagement. This could lead toward more funding and more covered lives.
A divided Congress will not make much easy for the Biden administration, however, getting on the other side of this pandemic as quickly and as safely as possible is best for everyone. Biden has shown he will make fighting COVID-19 a top priority.
HITC: Will remote patient monitoring become financially viable for hospital leaders in 2021?
McSherry: Why does a diabetic patient need to have every check-in be in-person or a healthy, pregnancy met every few weeks with an in-person visit as opposed to remote monitoring for key values and a telehealth check-in in place of a couple of those visits? Moving forward, hospitals will see the benefit of remote monitoring in terms of lower overhead, along with better patient engagement, outcomes and retention.
To make this work, providers must share risk, and determine digital strategies around attracting patients and then manage them in a capitated way with more digital tools because of the cost efficiencies.
HITC: How do we foster tighter physician-patient relationships?
McSherry: Patients trust their doctors, period. The struggle is going to be more obvious as more people do not have a PCP and turn to health care with a bandage approach to take care of an immediate concern. That will lead to entire populations without that trusted bond who are sicker when they finally do seek care, due to the lack of continuity and engagement early on.
By connecting with people now, where they are comfortable, there is a tighter physician-patient relationship by making it more accessible and reciprocal.
– Cone Health transforms its maternity campus into North
Carolina’s first designated COVID-19 hospital in 28 days.
Cone Health transformed
its former women’s health campus into a designated COVID-19
hospital in 28 days. Using teamwork and technology, the Cone Health Green Valley campus
in Greensboro, North Carolina became the area’s first specialized COVID-19
hospital, boasting the latest development in coronavirus care, negative
pressure ventilation, and hands-free communication throughout the facility.
More than 80 leaders from multi-disciplinary teams across the health system were involved in redesigning the former Women’s Hospital and opening it as a COVID-19 only facility in April of 2020. By year-end, more than 1,500 patients had received care at the 116-bed COVID-19 hospital. A place once dedicated to bringing new life into the world is now dedicated to keeping life from ending too soon.
Innovative Solutions to Address COVID-19
The health system’s
Lean team and infectious disease team joined forces to ensure that clinical
workflows, operational processes, and technology solutions were safe and
efficient. Among the approved innovations used to protect and connect care
teams in the COVID-19 hospital is the wearable Vocera Smartbadge.
The voice-controlled Smartbadge enables team members to communicate hands-frees and can be worn under personal protective equipment (PPE). A nurse, doctor, or other team members can initiate communication by simply saying, “OK, Vocera” followed by voice commands like “call respiratory therapist” or “call Code Blue team.” The Smartbadge, along with the Vocera Vina smartphone app, is also being used in the new Women’s & Children’s Center at Moses Cone Hospital to help care teams provide exceptional and personal care.
“Many patients need hands-on care, whether they are a sick baby or an elderly man with COVID-19, which is why hands-free communication is ideal for many clinicians; but there also are times when clinicians need to exchange more context about the patient situation, and a secure mobile app is preferred,” said Kenneth Rempher PhD, RN, executive vice president of acute care services and chief nurse executive at Cone Health.
– Withings partners with healthcare IT integration
company Redox, which will make its remote patient monitoring solution, Withings
MED·PRO CARE, compatible with nearly all EHRs used by physicians, hospitals,
and medical institutions.
– Through the partnership, physicians can now order and
ship Withings clinically-validated connected health devices directly to their
patients through their EHR.
– As patients use their Withings devices, which are
designed to be simple to use daily, their physicians can access and analyze
their patients’ data seamlessly through Redox.
pioneers of the connected health revolution, today announced it has partnered
with Redox, a single, secure API
endpoint that connects and integrates provider EHRs with healthcare
products and services. The partnership makes MED·PRO CARE, the
unique Withings remote patient monitoring solution, compatible with nearly all
EHRs used by physicians, hospitals, and medical institutions.
Withings MED·PRO CARE
Withings launched MED·PRO CARE, its remote patient
monitoring platform, to allow caregivers, medical institutions, and private
organizations to manage multiple patients’ physiological data through the
company’s portfolio of connected health devices and data analytical
Patients benefit from beautifully designed devices that
require little to no set up to fit effortlessly into their daily lives. In
fact, thanks to the Withings Data HUB, a plug and play cellular gateway created
specifically for Withings MED·PRO solutions, health providers can even deliver
devices to patients that require no set up or daily management at all.
Clinically Validated Health Devices Now Compatible with
Through the partnership, physicians can now order and ship
Withings clinically-validated connected health devices directly to their
patients through their EHR in just a few simple steps. Patients can use their
Withings devices to monitor and track their health in their traditional home
environments while their physicians access and analyze their data seamlessly
through Redox. The solution is HIPAA compliant and uses HL7 international
“During the pandemic, the importance of remote patient monitoring soared. However, for its long term success and utilization to be assured, it must be simple for both physicians and their patients,” said Mathieu Letombe, CEO of Withings. “Our partnership with Redox means Withings now integrates into practically every EHR system allowing physicians and hospitals to easily send Withings devices to their patients and access insights into their daily blood pressure, weight, sleep patterns, heart rates, and more. With Redox’s one connection and our range of devices, designed to easily integrate into patients’ everyday lives, the entire process is effortless for all involved, and many of the common frictions associated with remote patient monitoring are removed.”
Withings connected health devices are now available through
– RenalytixAI and DaVita announce a program partnership that
aims to slow kidney disease progression and improve outcomes for the nation’s
estimated 37 million adults with chronic kidney disease (CKD).
– This is the first clinical-grade program that delivers
advanced early-stage prognosis and risk stratification, combined with
actionable care management to the primary care level where the majority of
kidney disease patients are being seen.
– The program will use the KidneyIntelX in vitro
diagnostic platform from RenalytixAI to perform early risk assessment; after
risk stratification, patients identified as intermediate- and high-risk will
receive care management support through DaVita’s integrated kidney care program
a developer of AI-enabled
clinical in vitro diagnostic solutions for kidney disease, and DaVita, the largest provider
of kidney care services in the U.S., today announced a partner program aimed at
slowing disease progression and improving health outcomes for the nation’s
estimated 37 million adults with chronic kidney disease (CKD). The program is
expected to improve patient outcomes and provide meaningful cost reductions for
health care providers and payors by enabling earlier intervention for patients
with early-stage kidney disease (stages 1, 2 and 3) through actionable risk
assessments and end-to-end care management.
The collaboration is expected to launch in three major
markets this year. As the program expands, DaVita and RenalytixAI intend to
pursue risk-sharing arrangements with health care providers and payors to drive
kidney disease patient care innovation, cost efficiencies and improve quality
Early Risk Identification at Core of Innovative Kidney
The program utilizes the KidneyIntelX in vitro diagnostic platform from RenalytixAI, which uses a machine-learning algorithm to assess a combination of biomarkers from a simple blood draw with features from the electronic health record to generate a patient-specific risk score. The initial version of the KidneyIntelX risk score identifies Type 2 diabetic patients with early-stage CKD as low-, intermediate- or high-risk for progressive decline in kidney function or kidney failure. The integrated program may also help reduce kidney disease misclassification, which leaves some higher-risk patients without recommended treatment. The expected outcome of the collaboration will also be used to expand indicated use claims for KidneyIntelX.
After risk stratification, program patients identified as
intermediate- and high-risk will receive care management support through
DaVita’s integrated kidney care program, for which Renalytix will compensate
DaVita in lieu of providing those services itself. DaVita’s integrated kidney
care program is comprised of a coordinated care team, practical digital health
tools, award-winning patient education and other offerings. Focused on the
patient experience, these services are designed to empower patients to be
active in their care, delay disease progression, improve outcomes and lower
costs. DaVita’s team also closely collaborates with the treating nephrologist,
who leads the care team, to create a seamless care experience.
For patients whose kidney disease does progress, earlier
intervention can provide the patient and treating nephrologist more time to
make an informed decision about the treatment option that is best for them,
including pre-emptive transplantation, home dialysis or in-center dialysis. For
those patients who choose to begin dialysis, the extra time increases their
chance for an out-patient dialysis starts, which can help them to avoid
starting dialysis with a costly hospitalization.
“This is the first clinical-grade program that delivers advanced early-stage prognosis and risk stratification, combined with actionable care management right to the primary care level where the majority of kidney disease patients are being seen,” said James McCullough, Renalytix AI Chief Executive Officer. “Making fundamental change in kidney disease health economics and outcomes must begin with providing a clear, actionable understanding of disease progression risk.”
The rapid development of a COVID-19 vaccine is a monumental achievement, but it does nothing to address our extremely fragmented healthcare system. In 2021, policymakers must create and extend incentives to providers to work together to keep patients healthy rather than maximize profit. The pandemic has devastated the traditional fee-for-service budgets of many healthcare systems, and it isn’t clear they will ever be able to catch up without additional federal or local funding, or succeeding with radically different business models. Fortunately, this time of difficult budget decisions and value-based care models coincides with an explosion in growth of digital health tools that are being readily embraced by patients that are happy to see healthcare providers adopt technology familiar to them in other settings. This convergence of demand for technology and innovation by health systems and patients will enable providers to be able to reach new populations while continuing to serve their communities that have been impacted by the pandemic.
Peter S. Tippett, MD, PhD, Founder & CEO, careMESH
In 2020, COVID exposed significant gaps in interoperability
and patient data exchange between and among healthcare providers and public
health agencies. As 2021 arrives, I expect to see renewed vigor for tackling
this challenge since it has hamstrung efficiency and the quality of patient
care for a long time. I am optimistic that the Centers for Medicare &
Medicaid Services (CMS) Interoperability and Patient Access Final Rule
requiring admission and discharge summaries be sent to primary care providers,
as well as a renewed focus on electronic referrals under the Promoting
Interoperability program, gives hospitals the incentive to share patient
information and medical records with the entire patient care team. I believe
lessons learned from 2020 have set a determination across the industry to
finally break down these communications barriers.
Chris McCann, CEO, Current Health
With the second surge of COVID-19 underway, hospitals are
quickly reaching capacities that exceed the numbers we saw at the onset of the
pandemic. In the coming year, we will see an increase in home-based care models
propelled by remote patient monitoring (RPM), a technology that has proven to
be indispensable in aiding hospital staff to best allocate their current,
limited resources. Just recently, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid
Services announced steps to increase the capacity of healthcare systems to provide
acute care outside a traditional hospital setting. Similar to the telehealth
waivers we saw at the onset of the pandemic, this new program will serve as a
sandbox for health systems to explore new clinical pathways for patients in
their own home, which will look quite different than within the hospital.
Reimbursement will allow these models to scale; and with scale, we’ll be able
to explore how data can move beyond just supporting care at home to actually
predicting future risk and enabling preventive care.
Doug Cusick, CEO of TransformativeMed
As the pandemic intensified, many health IT companies were
able to adapt and create COVID-19 specific solutions. The critical hospital and
frontline clinician needs that presented early in the virus’s outbreak revealed
many communication problems within health systems and between care team
members. What became abundantly clear early on was that a lot more needed to be
done to help these healthcare workers to collaborate and communicate to
effectively track and care for their patients.
Health IT companies are taking a very close look at their solutions and asking themselves how they can be improved to better support clinical collaboration and decision making across the entire care team. Advancements in these areas can create usability and efficiency gains through specialty-specific views of information and by supporting care team collaboration by coordinating the distribution of critical and routine notifications, tasks and to-dos between mobile and desktop, and then sharing the information across various members of a multidisciplinary care team.
Moving forward, these innovations will help hospitals and health systems to maximize the ROI that would be expected from their technology investments, recover from the pandemic and support coordinated care delivery well into the future.
Siva Namasivayam, CEO of Cohere Health
COVID-19 has dramatically reinforced the need to fix the basic healthcare infrastructure including helping patients get faster access to needed medical care and moving through the system with less friction. The American Medical Association has outlined the benefits of reducing the volume of medical services and drugs requiring prior authorizations. Regulatory bodies have stated the value of prior authorization, and they also know it’s essential to alleviate the burden the current process puts on providers. Because of regulatory pressures and provider workflow issues, health plans need better technology that ties clinical guidelines and recommendations to a complete care plan, easily approves that care plan, and supports physicians in providing high-quality care to their patients.
Sean Carroll, CEO of Arcadia
In the early stages of the COVID-19 pandemic, many health systems rapidly accelerated existing plans for virtual care delivery or made brand new investments in this space. As the pandemic continues to ravage our communities and put our health care systems under strain, healthcare leaders will accelerate investments in curated data at scale to support population health initiatives across their entire covered population. With systems facing staffing and budgetary crises, it will be critical for them to understand the needs of the community at large and allocate those scarce resources where they can offer maximum benefit to patients.
Omri Shor, CEO of Medisafe
COVID-19: The pandemic will continue to dominate our lives
throughout 2021. I don’t anticipate a vaccine to be readily available to the
masses until mid-2021. There will likely be competition on single vs. multiple
doses, and stricter guidelines are to be expected (at least in other countries)
as we head into the flu season. I don’t anticipate a vaccine to be readily
available to the masses until mid-2021. According to Medisafe survey findings,
60 percent of respondents say they don’t expect a vaccine to be available
before the end of 2020. Additionally, 54 percent of respondents will wait to
receive a vaccine until either their doctor prescribes it, or enough have received
it to know it works.
Expect to see more widely available drugs to support the
treatment of COVID-19, in addition to the vaccine, such as steroid medications
and antibiotic drugs. COVID-19 will drive drug companies to devote more
research into pandemic treatment and monitoring of patients’ post-treatment.
David Lareau, CEO of Medicomp Systems
Once the COVID crisis is under control, expect to see
attention turn to innovation in the management of patient health status.
Current HIT systems were designed for transaction-based reimbursement, but the
industry must make the shift to condition-based reimbursement. This will
require systems to provide better tools for clinicians to manage patient
conditions at the point of care. I expect to see advances in this area start to
make their way into the marketplace by the end of 2021.
Bird Blitch, CEO at Patientco
Economic and health equity gaps exposed by COVID-19 will be
addressed: As we head into 2021, organizations will commit more resources and
collaborate with others within the healthcare community to support better
health equity and ensure every patient can reach their full health potential.
Daniel Kivatinos, COO and Co-Founder of DrChrono
The Pop-Up Testing Clinic
COVID-19 has ushered in a new way of testing that has never
been seen before across the country. The white tents scattered around parking
lots and connected to medical facilities have proven that this new way of
testing is working. Furthermore, the data that is being collected, stored, and
reported at the pop-up testing clinics and then shared with various local,
state, and federal public health databases is critical. Companies are creating
integration tools to help share and analyze this data.
Lisa Romano, RN, Chief Nursing Officer, CipherHealth
Hospitals will need to counter the staff wellness fallout
The pandemic has placed unthinkable stress on frontline healthcare workers. Since it began, they’ve been working under conditions that are fundamentally more dangerous, with fewer resources, and in many cases under the heavy emotional burden of seeing several patients lose their battle with COVID-19.
The fallout from that is already beginning – doctors and nurses are leaving the profession, or getting sick, or battling mental health struggles. Nursing programs are struggling to fill classes. As a new wave of the pandemic rolls across the country, that fallout will only increase. If they haven’t already, hospitals in 2021 will place new premiums upon staff wellness and staff health, tapping into the same type of outreach and purposeful rounding solutions they use to round on patients.
Ryan Van Wert, MD, Intensive Care Physician, Clinical
Assistant Professor at Stanford University and CEO and co-founder of Vynca
The realities of COVID-19 have thrown into stark reality the need for improved advance care planning in 2021. According to many surveys and studies, few Americans would choose to die on a ventilator in an ICU. Instead, the overwhelming preference is to pass away peacefully and avoid aggressive interventions at the very end.
In 2021, more and more patients and healthcare providers will realize the importance of having a clear advance care plan that is digitally accessible and actionable. By educating and empowering healthcare providers to have advance care planning conversations with their patients, they can ensure goal-concordant care can be provided to every patient. Advance care planning is increasingly being included as a quality measure in value-based initiatives, which ties this critical activity directly to success in these programs.
Bill Paschall, VP at Vivify Health (part of Optum)
COVID-19 descended on us in 2020 like a terrible wave and
continues to swirl around the globe despite social distancing, masking, and the
drowning of economies. Vaccines promise to dilute and dry up this scourge on
mankind, but who will have access and when? Working in conjunction with the
World Health Organization, organizations like COVAX
endeavor to ensure equitable distribution in early 2021 so that all nations can
provide vaccines for up to 20% of their population. It is very likely that only
some countries will be able to vaccinate their entire population in 2021, so we
may see COVID and its impact lingering well into 2022 or even 2023.
Does this mean that the Tsunami of Telehealth in the US
enabled by CMS waivers in early 2020 will wane when the Public Health Emergency
expires? Although some services will again become more restricted, we will
likely see only a short-term dip in these services. Patient acceptance of and
engagement with telehealth has been proven, and provider willingness to invest
in and utilize technology has been demonstrated. Providers continue the move from Fee for
Service to Value-Based care models, and health plans will support the use of telehealth
and remote patient monitoring to wider populations, lowering the overall cost
of care and improving outcomes.
Paul Jensen, President, Novarad
The global COVID-19 pandemic and its various, and often inaccurate, testing methods have led many organizations to turn to technologies like AI and AR, which are giving radiologists a better sense of how to proactively provide for their patients and predict both outcomes and how they’ll respond to various therapies.
As the medical imaging industry continues to feel the surmounting pressures from the virus, AI, when coupled with CT scans, is and will continue to play a vital role in the diagnosis and management of COVID-19. While medical imaging continues to catch up with more modern, consumer technology, leveraging AI in the fight against COVID to reduce patient vulnerability and improve medical image processing is just the beginning.
Rob Cohen, President of Appriss Health
The COVID-19 pandemic has fueled a resurging U.S. opioid
crisis that some argue has worsened in part because of the stress and anxiety
we are collectively experiencing. One bright spot is that physicians and
hospitals have greater access to in-workflow tools to not only help identify
patients at risk for opioid use disorder or overdose but also to connect
patients with behavioral health resources that can provide them with needed
treatment. This access will continue to expand to more physicians and hospitals
in 2021 – and it will help save lives.
Sara Radkiewicz, Head of Product, CarePort
The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated existing operational issues within the US healthcare system and has also made exceedingly apparent the need for increased interoperability and streamlined care coordination. Better communication, collaboration, and transparency across the care continuum is the best way to ensure safe patient transitions between different levels of care and optimal patient outcomes.
Looking ahead to 2021, we expect increased provider communication, collaboration and transparency to be made a priority, particularly under CMS’s new patient event notification Condition of Participation (CoP) requirements, which go into effect on May 1, 2021, as part of the Interoperability and Patient Access final rule. Though COVID-19 has highlighted the need for real-time data and alerts regarding patient status, increased visibility into patient utilization history, and streamlined data-sharing between disparate providers, this actionable information will remain critically important long beyond the pandemic.
Mike Hoxter, Chief Technology Officer, Lightbeam Health
In 2021, I think COVID-19 will eventually diminish with the
distribution of a vaccine, but efficiently delivering care without coming
face-to-face will not. The healthcare industry will continue to streamline
current processes that improve care quality through more remote and electronic
means. We have learned a lot about doing things differently and safely for
high-risk populations through virtual care, and I do not think it will be going
anywhere in the new year.
Theresa Kushner, Senior Director of Data Intelligence and
Automation, NTT DATA Services
COVID-19 will continue to compromise patient data,
setting back efforts to fight the virus
COVID-19 is an assault on privacy in the absence of data
governance. Privacy regulations and protections of personal health data have
been thrown out the window, along with the pandemic response playbook, as the
public sector and healthcare industry scramble to aggregate as much data as
they can on COVID-19 through personal health records and contact tracing –
rendered as public information. Similar to other crises in history, regulation,
privacy and governance fall by the wayside during reconnaissance. I believe the
lack of regulation and governance around healthcare data will result in
setbacks to overcoming the virus in the next several months, not to mention
that it’s compromising patient data.
Kevin Phillips, VP of Product Management and Product Marketing
at Capsule Technologies
The Coronavirus pandemic and accompanying stress on the healthcare system have shown the need for new technology that can help clinicians be more efficient and effective at delivering care, and proactively identify patients at risk. Our caregivers are healthcare’s most precious resource, and in many cases, they are overwhelmed with the sheer volume of raw data, alarms and alerts around them. The onslaught has forced many into reactive care.
As we look to a new year, however, there has been a change in mindset about which alarms equate to emergent patient safety events requiring clinical intervention. Single threshold device alarms are not actionable, and therefore, of no practical benefit. What’s required are intelligent alerts and surveillance tools that track patient deterioration, explain the ‘how’ and ‘why’ such events occur, and detect them before they occur – all toward eliminating patient safety risks and preventable deaths.
While machine learning and artificial intelligence have great potential, in 2021 we’ll start to see more immediate, practical examples of “augmented intelligence,” where technology is used to quickly analyze reams of live, streaming patient data to identify the relevant trends and insights that can then be used to provide the best possible treatment; all based on established, evidence-based care practices. By focusing on these areas, hospitals and health systems will see clear benefits that can help them transition from reactive care delivery to more insight-driven, proactive care.
Kris Fitzgerald, CTO, NTT DATA Services
Technology’s Obligation in the COVID-19 Vaccine
Healthcare workers and pharmaceutical companies have been in
the trenches the past several months treating COVID-19 patients and conducting
research to develop a vaccine. As the healthcare industry, and tangential
industries, work tirelessly to mitigate the virus and work to eradicate it, the
technology industry has an obligation to contribute to this cause, as well. The
tech sector is comprised of some of the most innovative and powerful companies
in the world, and they have a responsibility to leverage their resources to
remove technical barriers and help secure the supply chain to ensure the
vaccine can be distributed successfully and without delay.
COVID-19-specific data is being generated at incredibly high volumes and speeds – from symptoms, to contact tracing, infection and recovery rates, and more. However, the governance around this data is severely lacking. By creating one centralized data management, analytics, and governance repository, government officials, and healthcare professionals overseeing distribution of the vaccine can better analyze the data available to them to generate more accurate real-time decisions.
This allows them to move swiftly and efficiently on in-the-moment insights, such as geographical case spikes or rural areas with a lack of resources to properly store the vaccine, to increase agility and respond to constantly changing consumer and supply chain needs. Real-time, trustworthy, and transparent data management, as well as consulting from technology and data experts, has never been more important. As we learn more about the virus and how to prevent it, data will be the key that unlocks critical information around flattening the curve and efficiently and strategically distributing the vaccine.
Private medical insurance company Further Group has ramped up its presence in digital healthcare by merging with Trustedoctor, a startup that puts patients in contact with medical professionals.
Further – which was rebranded from BDU International last year – specialises in providing cross-border health insurance to people across Europe, the Middle East, Africa and Asia, and according to CEO Frank Ahedo aims to provide people with access to healthcare “no matter what the location or cost.”
Adding Trustedoctor to the business bolsters its digital health capabilities with online consultations, second opinions and other tools to help patients take control of their illnesses and access the care they want, without geographical restrictions.
“Together, we will continue to remove financial and logistical hurdles faced by consumers that want to access the very best treatment when faced with a serious illness,” said Ahedo.
First launched in 2016, Trustedoctor was born from the experiences of founder and CEO Greg Jarzabek whilst trying to get the best care for his mother, who died of pancreatic cancer in 2011.
Using the platform, patients can seek out a doctor based on factors such as location, tumour and treatment type, and request a consultation with their chosen choice.
The tool means the doctor can review necessary information like medical records, scans, and diagnostic results in a digital file, and decided whether to accept the consultation, or refer to anther specialist. The consultation and referral both take place within the Trustedoctor platform.
Trustedoctor started out focusing on oncology, but is expanding into other medical areas and is now being used to connect patients with doctors in more than a dozen countries across Europe, the US and Asia.
It was already offering critical insurance and employee benefits services to corporate clients before the merger with Further. The company will have business in over 30 countries and partnerships with over 300 insurers and employers.
Jarząbek said the merger will create “a new market-leader in borderless, complete healthcare solution and provide a unique opportunity for us to collectively grow our network of doctors and hospitals.
“This will ultimately mean that more patients see the benefits of world-leading medical expertise.”
– Conversa Health’s COVID-19 programs now include patient monitoring pre- and post-vaccination, education on vaccines, and appointment reminders.
– Healthcare workers at UCHealth in Colorado are
receiving 24/7 monitoring of vital signs two days before and seven days after
receiving their vaccinations courtesy of Conversa Health.
Conversa Health, a Portland, OR-based automated virtual care and triage platform, has expanded its suite of COVID-19 programs with tools to help the vaccine effort. As part of its expansion, Conversa has partnered with BioIntelliSense to monitor healthcare workers at UCHealth in Colorado before and after receiving COVID-19 vaccinations. UCHealth physicians, nurses, and other front-line staff members wear BioIntelliSense’s BioButton medical device two days before and seven days after vaccination. The BioButton continuously monitors temperature, respiratory rate and heart rate at rest. Conversa collects information from the BioButton and integrates the vital signs data with insights from a daily interactive vaccination health survey developed by Conversa.
“Automated vaccine monitoring for our frontline healthcare workers is an important step toward scaling the program for the larger population, particularly vulnerable patient populations and seniors in long-term care environments,” said Dr. Richard Zane, UCHealth chief innovation officer and professor and chair of emergency medicine at the University of Colorado School of Medicine. “We are working closely with partners like Conversa and BioIntelliSense to navigate the ever-changing healthcare landscape and transform the way patients receive care.”
Vaccine education, tracking and screening
Conversa also is assisting health systems across the country
with the challenge of vaccinating millions of patients. This effort begins with
educating patients on the safety and efficacy of the vaccines. Patients want to
know when they will be eligible to receive vaccines and what their experience
will be like, including potential side effects. And patients need an easy way
to set up vaccine appointments and get reminders to follow through on their
visits. Health systems also want to monitor potential side effects, both to
ensure patients get needed follow-up care and to report any side effects to the
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
“With millions of people needing to be vaccinated, we cannot have a manual, paper process to track who received a vaccine and who experienced side effects,” said Dr. Nick Patel, chief digital officer at Prisma Health, an 18-hospital system serving South Carolina. “We have to automate this process to track information accurately and at scale. With Conversa, we will be able to do that for the 1.2 million patients that Prisma Health serves annually. Digital tracking also allows us to provide vaccinated individuals with a digital badge for entering an airplane, a public building or an entertainment venue. That will be a key to allowing life to return to something close to pre-COVID normal.”
Prior to the pandemic, telehealth was a limited ad-hoc service with geographic and provider restrictions. However, with both the pandemic restrictions on face to face interactions and a relaxation of governmental regulations, telehealth utilization has significantly increased from thousands of visits in a week to well over a million in the Medicare population. What we’ve learned is that telehealth allows patients, especially high-risk populations like seniors, to connect with their doctors in a safe and efficient way. Telehealth is valuable for many types of visits, mostly clearly ones that involve mental health or physical health issues that do not require a physical exam or procedure. It’s an efficient modality for both the member and provider.
With the growing popularity of telehealth services, we may see permanent changes in regulatory standards. Flexible regulatory standards, such as being able to use platforms like FaceTime or Skype, would lower the barrier to entry for providers to offer telehealth and also encourage adoption, especially among seniors. Second, it’s likely we’ll see an emergence of providers with aligned incentives around value, such as in many Medicare Advantage plans, trying very hard to encourage utilization with their members so that they get the right care at the right time. In theory, the shift towards value-based care will allow better care and lower costs than the traditional fee for service model. If we are able to evolve regulatory and payment environments, providers have an opportunity to grow these types of services into 2021 to improve patient wellness and health outcomes.
Dr. Salvatore Viscomi, Chief Medical Officer, GoodCell
2021 will be the year of patient controlled-health
The COVID-19 pandemic brought the realities of a global-scale health event – and our general lack of preparedness to address it – to the forefront. People are now laser-focused on how they can protect themselves and their families against the next inevitable threat. On top of this, social distancing and isolation accelerated the development and use of digital health tools, from wellness trackers to telehealth and virtual care, most of which can be accessed from the comfort of our homes. The convergence of these two forces is poised to make 2021 the year for patient-controlled health, whereby health decisions are not dictated by – but rather made in consultation with – a healthcare provider, leveraging insights and data pulled from a variety of health technology tools at people’s fingertips.
Anish Sebastian, CEO of Babyscripts
Telemedicine was the finger in the dyke at the beginning of pandemic panic, with healthcare providers grabbing whatever came to hand — encouraged by relaxed HIPAA regulations — to keep the dam from breaking. But as the dust settles, telemedicine is emerging as the commodity that it is, and value-add services are going to be the differentiating factors in an increasingly competitive marketplace. Offerings like remote patient monitoring and asynchronous communication, initially considered as “nice-to-haves,” are becoming standard offerings as healthcare providers see their value for continuous care beyond Covid.
Daniel Kivatinos, COO and Co-Founder of DrChrono
Telehealth visits are going to supersede in-person visits as time goes on.
Because of COVID-19, the world changed and Medicare and Medicaid, as well as other insurers, started paying out for telehealth visits. Telemedicine will continue to grow at a very quick rate, and verticals like mental health (psychology and psychiatry) and primary care fit perfectly into the telemedicine model, for tasks like administering prescription refills (ePrescribing) and ordering labs. Hyperlocal medical care will also move towards more of a telemedicine care team experience. Patients that are homebound families with young children or people that just recently had surgery can now get instant care when they need it. Location is less relevant because patients can see a provider from anywhere.
Dennis McLaughlin VP of Omni Operations + Product at ibi
Virtual Healthcare is Here to Stay (House Calls are Back)
This new normal however is going to put significant pressure on the data support and servicing requirements to do it effectively. As more services are offered to patients outside of established clinical locations, it also means there will be more opportunity to collect data and a higher degree of dependence on interoperability. Providers are going to have to up their game from just providing and recording facts to passing on critical insight back into these interactions to maximize the benefits to the patient.
Sarahjane Sacchetti, CEO at Cleo
Virtual care (of all types) will become a lasting form of care: The vastly accelerated and broadened use of virtual care spurred by the pandemic will become permanent. Although it started with one-off check-ins or virtual mental health coaching, 2021 will see the continued rise in the use and efficacy of virtual care services once thought to be in-person only such as maternity, postpartum, pediatric, and even tutoring. Employers are taking notice of this shift with 32% indicating that expanded virtual health services are a top priority, and this number will quickly rise as employers look to offer flexible and convenient benefits in support of employees and to drive productivity.
Omri Shor, CEO of Medisafe
Digital expansion: The pandemic has accelerated patient technology adoption, and innovation remains front-and-center for healthcare in 2021. Expect to see areas of telemedicine and digital health monitoring expand in new and novel ways, with increased uses in remote monitoring and behavioral health. CMS has approved telehealth for a number of new specialties and digital health tools continue to gain adoption among healthcare companies, drug makers, providers, and patients.
Digital health companions will continue to become an important tool to monitor patients, provide support, and track behaviors – while remaining socially distant due to the pandemic. Look for crossover between medical care, drug monitoring, and health and wellness – Apple
Watch has already previewed this potential with heart rate and blood oxygen monitoring. Data output from devices will enable support to become more personalized and triggered by user behavior.
Kelli Bravo, Vice President, Healthcare and Life Sciences, Pegasystems
The COVID-19 pandemic has not only changed and disrupted our lives, it has wreaked havoc on the entire healthcare industry at a scale we’ve never seen before. And it continues to alter almost every part of life across the globe. The way we access and receive healthcare has also changed as a result of social distancing requirements, patient concerns, provider availability, mobile capabilities, and newly implemented procedures at hospitals and healthcare facilities.
For example, hospitals and providers are postponing elective procedures again to help health systems prepare and reserve ICU beds amid the latest COVID-19 resurgence. While level of care is always important, in some areas, the inability to access a healthcare provider is equally concerning. And these challenges may become even more commonplace in the post-COVID-19 era. One significant transformation to help with the hurdle is telehealth, which went from a very small part of the care offering before the health crisis to one that is now a much more accepted way to access care. As the rise in virtual health continues to serve consumers and provide a personalized and responsive care experience, healthcare consumers expect support services and care that are also fast and personalized – with digital apps, instant claims settlements, transparency, and advocacy. And to better help serve healthcare consumers, the industry has an opportunity to align with digital transformation that offers a personalized and responsive experience.
Brooke LeVasseur, CEO of AristaMD
Issues pertaining to the COVID-19 pandemic will continue to be front-and-center in 2021. Every available digital tool in the box will have to be employed to ensure patients with non-COVID related issues are not forgotten as we try to free up in-person space and resources for those who cannot get care in any other setting. Virtual front doors, patient/physician video and eConsults, which connect providers to collaborate electronically, will be part of a broadening continuum of care – ultimately aimed at optimizing every valuable resource we have.
Bret Larsen, CEO and Co-Founder, eVisit
By the end of 2021, virtual care paths will be fairly ubiquitous across the continuum of care, from urgent care and EDs to specialty care, all to serve patients where they are – at home and on mobile devices. This will be made possible through virtualized end-to-end processes that integrate every step in patient care from scheduling, waiting rooms, intake and patient queuing, to interpretation services, referral management, e-prescribe, billing and analytics, and more.
Laura Kreofsky, Vice President for Advisory & Telehealth for Pivot Point Consulting
2020 has been the year of rapid telehealth adoption and advancement due to the COVID pandemic. According to CDC reports, telehealth utilization spiked as much as 154% in late March compared to the same period in 2019. While usage has moderated, it’s clear telehealth is now an instrumental part of healthcare delivery. As provider organizations plan for telehealth in 2021 and beyond, we are going to have to expect and deliver a secure, scalable infrastructure, a streamlined patient experience and an approach that maximizes provider efficiency, all while seeing much-needed vendor consolidation.
Jeff Lew, SVP of Product Management, Nextech
Earlier this year, CMS enacted new rules to provide practices with the flexibility they need to use telehealth solutions in response to COVID-19, during which patients also needed an alternative to simply visiting the office. This was the impetus to the accelerated acceptance of telehealth as a means to both give and receive care. Specialty practices, in particular, are seeing successful and positive patient experiences due to telehealth visits. Dermatology practices specifically standout and I expect the strong adoption will continue to grow and certainly be the “new normal.” In addition, innovative practices that have embraced this omni-channel approach to delivering care are also establishing this as a “new normal” by selectively using telehealth visits for certain types of encounters, such as post-op visits or triaging patients. This gives patients a choice and the added convenience that comes with it and, in some cases, increases patient volume for the practice.
As we re-examine the healthcare system in the wake of the pandemic, we are continually identifying opportunities to rebuild parts of the system to new and improved specifications. One critical facet is digital health, where we continue to struggle with what should really be table stakes: the ability to integrate data from disparate organizations and systems into a unified view of the whole person and take action.
During the height of the pandemic, telehealth made it possible to deliver care that was personal yet socially responsible. As a direct benefit, the use of digital health tools on both the clinical and consumer side picked up a tremendous and timely head of steam. But what will become of these innovations once we make our eventual return to normal?
Today, many healthcare consumers can talk to a therapist or a counselor through text, monitor glucose levels through a diabetes app and meet with their primary care provider over videoconference. The challenge is that a lot of this patient data is still landlocked in electronic medical record (EMR) systems that do not communicate or coordinate with one another or with payer systems or consumer apps.
The sustainability and applicability of digital health tools are still often questioned despite reports that investors had poured a staggering $5.4 billion into the digital health industry just by June of this year (Rock Health). The key to success is to seamlessly connect these tools with legacy systems and siloed access points to create a truly integrated healthcare continuum. Jumping between systems, each holding only its own limited slice of patient data, and then trying to take action on this data, is neither scalable nor sustainable.
Healthcare consumers have long looked at the seamless nature of apps in other areas of life and asked for a similar level of accessibility and on-demand, high-quality information from the healthcare system. Accenture found in its 2020 Digital Health Consumer Survey that although consumers are interested in virtual services, a cumbersome digital experience turns them off. Additionally, the survey found that concerns over privacy, security, and trust remain, along with difficulty integrating new tools and services into day-to-day clinical workflows.
The good news is that the Office of the National Coordinator (ONC) has made several major data exchange rulings this year that will push providers and payer organizations to update legacy systems to make consumer health data more assessable and sharable across all parties, all for the benefit of the patient.
The Stage is Set: Healthcare Leaders Must Act, Now
The incredible investments in the industry, increasing consumer demand, and data sharing regulation show that healthcare connectivity and interoperability have never been more essential. To ensure that the digital health transformation and remote healthcare delivery models progress optimally beyond the current environment, we must support healthcare organizations in evolving their infrastructure and software capabilities to support this kind of strategy. This is where health tech has a critical role to play in building flexible pipes to connect the full spectrum of repositories and players, including doctors, specialists, nurses, care managers, health coaches, caregivers, and, of course, the healthcare consumer.
What does this look like in practice? Imagine if an unusually high heart rate warning was triggered by a patient’s smartwatch, which then alerted the patient’s care manager to check-in. With a comprehensive view of that patient, the care manager calls the patient to assess if they are okay and learns the patient ran out of their prescription which helps lower the heart rate. Knowing that patient does not have access to a car and is afraid to take public transportation due to COVID-19, the care manager then sets up a prescription delivery straight to that patient’s doorstep.
Through this process, digital health tools, patient data, and social determinants of health all came together to equip that care manager to deliver personalized care to the patient. Sound like sci-fi? This innovative approach can actually be a reality for organizations that manage large populations. The key is educating more healthcare leaders about the benefits of a comprehensive healthcare platform that improves health outcomes, lowers costs and increases member satisfaction.
This all starts with a platform that coordinates and aggregates the siloes of data and tools (clinical and digital) into a central hub. that allows providers to oversee the access points, plans, and processes in a patient’s healthcare journey without the task of building or maintaining the system themselves. This can be a game-changer in the way we assess and treat patients and help the industry to fully realize the dream of truly comprehensive, coordinated care.
About Adam Sabloff
Adam Sabloff is the founder and CEO of VirtualHealth, provider of HELIOS, the leading SaaS care management platform, serving more than 9 million members across the U.S. Prior to VirtualHealth, Sabloff served as VP of Development and Chief Marketing Officer for Midtown Equities, a $7 billion real estate, media and aviation conglomerate, where he also oversaw its technology subsidiary, Midtown Technologies.
The combination of Teladoc Health and Livongo creates a
global leader in consumer-centered virtual care. The combined company is
positioned to execute quantified opportunities to drive revenue synergies of
$100 million by the end of the second year following the close, reaching $500
million on a run-rate basis by 2025.
Price: $18.5B in value based on each share of Livongo
will be exchanged for 0.5920x shares of Teladoc Health plus cash consideration
of $11.33 for each Livongo share.
Siemens Healthineers Acquires Varian Medical
On August 2nd, Siemens Healthineers acquired
Varian Medical for $16.4B, with the deal expected to close in 2021. Varian is a
global specialist in the field of cancer care, providing solutions especially
in radiation oncology and related software, including technologies such as
artificial intelligence, machine learning and data analysis. In fiscal year 2019,
the company generated $3.2 billion in revenues with an adjusted operating
margin of about 17%. The company currently has about 10,000 employees
Price: $16.4 billion in an all-cash transaction.
Gainwell to Acquire HMS for $3.4B in Cash
Veritas Capital (“Veritas”)-backed Gainwell Technologies (“Gainwell”),
a leading provider of solutions that are vital to the administration and
operations of health and human services programs, today announced that they
have entered into a definitive agreement whereby Gainwell will acquire HMS, a technology, analytics and engagement
solutions provider helping organizations reduce costs and improve health
Price: $3.4 billion in cash.
Philips Acquires Remote Cardiac Monitoring BioTelemetry for $2.8B
Philips acquires BioTelemetry, a U.S. provider of remote
cardiac diagnostics and monitoring for $72.00 per share for an implied
enterprise value of $2.8 billion (approx. EUR 2.3 billion). With $439M in
revenue in 2019, BioTelemetry annually monitors over 1 million cardiac patients
remotely; its portfolio includes wearable heart monitors, AI-based data
analytics, and services.
Price: $2.8B ($72 per share), to be paid in cash upon
Hims & Hers Merges with Oaktree Acquisition Corp to Go Public on NYSE
Telehealth company Hims & Hers and Oaktree Acquisition Corp., a special purpose acquisition company (SPAC) merge to go public on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) under the symbol “HIMS.” The merger will enable further investment in growth and new product categories that will accelerate Hims & Hers’ plan to become the digital front door to the healthcare system
Price: The business combination values the combined
company at an enterprise value of approximately $1.6 billion and is expected to
deliver up to $280 million of cash to the combined company through the
contribution of up to $205 million of cash.
SPAC Merges with 2 Telehealth Companies to Form Public
Digital Health Company in $1.35B Deal
Blank check acquisition company GigCapital2 agreed to merge with Cloudbreak Health, LLC, a unified telemedicine and video medical interpretation solutions provider, and UpHealth Holdings, Inc., one of the largest national and international digital healthcare providers to form a combined digital health company.
Price: The merger deal is worth $1.35 billion, including
WellSky Acquires CarePort Health from Allscripts for
Price: $1.35 billion represents a multiple of greater
than 13 times CarePort’s revenue over the trailing 12 months, and approximately
21 times CarePort’s non-GAAP Adjusted EBITDA over the trailing 12 months.
Waystar Acquires Medicare RCM Company eSolutions
On September 13th, revenue cycle management
provider Waystar acquires eSolutions, a provider of Medicare and Multi-Payer revenue
cycle management, workflow automation, and data analytics tools. The
acquisition creates the first unified healthcare payments platform with both
commercial and government payer connectivity, resulting in greater value for
Radiology Partners (RP), a radiology practice in the U.S., announced a definitive agreement to acquire MEDNAX Radiology Solutions, a division of MEDNAX, Inc. for an enterprise value of approximately $885 million. The acquisition is expected to add more than 800 radiologists to RP’s existing practice of 1,600 radiologists. MEDNAX Radiology Solutions consists of more than 300 onsite radiologists, who primarily serve patients in Connecticut, Florida, Nevada, Tennessee, and Texas, and more than 500 teleradiologists, who serve patients in all 50 states.
PointClickCare Acquires Collective Medical
PointClickCare Technologies, a leader in senior care technology with a network of more than 21,000 skilled nursing facilities, senior living communities, and home health agencies, today announced its intent to acquireCollective Medical, a Salt Lake City, a UT-based leading network-enabled platform for real-time cross-continuum care coordination for $650M. Together, PointClickCare and Collective Medical will provide diverse care teams across the continuum of acute, ambulatory, and post-acute care with point-of-care access to deep, real-time patient insights at any stage of a patient’s healthcare journey, enabling better decision making and improved clinical outcomes at a lower cost.
Teladoc Health Acquires Virtual Care Platform InTouch
Teladoc Health acquires InTouch Health, the leading provider of enterprise telehealth solutions for hospitals and health systems for $600M. The acquisition establishes Teladoc Health as the only virtual care provider covering the full range of acuity – from critical to chronic to everyday care – through a single solution across all sites of care including home, pharmacy, retail, physician office, ambulance, and more.
Price: $600M consisting of approximately $150 million
in cash and $450 million of Teladoc Health common stock.
AMN Healthcare Acquires VRI Provider Stratus Video
AMN Healthcare Services, Inc. acquires Stratus Video, a leading provider of video remote language interpretation services for the healthcare industry. The acquisition will help AMN Healthcare expand in the virtual workforce, patient care arena, and quality medical interpretation services delivered through a secure communications platform.
CarepathRx Acquires Pharmacy Operations of Chartwell from
CarepathRx, a leader in pharmacy and medication management
solutions for vulnerable and chronically ill patients, announced today a
partnership with UPMC’s Chartwell subsidiary that will expand patient access to
innovative specialty pharmacy and home infusion services. Under the $400M
landmark agreement, CarepathRx will acquire the
management services organization responsible for the operational and strategic
management of Chartwell while UPMC becomes a strategic investor in CarepathRx.
Cerner to Acquire Health Division of Kantar for $375M in
Cerner announces it will acquire Kantar Health, a leading
data, analytics, and real-world evidence and commercial research consultancy
serving the life science and health care industry.
This acquisition is expected to allow Cerner’s Learning
Health Network client consortium and health systems with more opportunities to
directly engage with life sciences for funded research studies. The acquisition
is expected to close during the first half of 2021.
Cerner Sells Off Parts of Healthcare IT Business in
Germany and Spain
Cerner sells off parts of healthcare IT business in Germany and Spain to Germany company CompuGroup Medical, reflecting the company-wide transformation focused on improved operating efficiencies, enhanced client focus, a refined growth strategy, and a sharpened approach to portfolio management.
Price: EUR 225 million ($247.5M USD)
CompuGroup Medical Acquires eMDs for $240M
CompuGroup Medical (CGM) acquires eMDs, Inc. (eMDs), a
leading provider of healthcare IT with a focus on doctors’ practices in the US,
reaching an attractive size in the biggest healthcare market worldwide. With
this acquisition, the US subsidiary of CGM significantly broadens its position
and will become the top 4 providers in the market for Ambulatory Information
Systems in the US.
Price: $240M (equal to approx. EUR 203 million)
Change Healthcare Buys Back Pharmacy Network
back pharmacy unit eRx Network
(“eRx”), a leading provider of comprehensive, innovative, and secure
data-driven solutions for pharmacies. eRx generated approximately $67M in
annual revenue for the twelve-month period ended February 29, 2020. The
transaction supports Change Healthcare’s commitment to focus on and invest in
core aspects of the business to fuel long-term growth and advance innovation.
Walmart acquires CareZone, a San Francisco, CA-based smartphone
service for managing chronic health conditions for reportedly $200M. By
working with a network of pharmacy partners, CareZone’s concierge services
assist consumers in getting their prescription medications organized and
delivered to their doorstep, making pharmacies more accessible to individuals
and families who may be homebound or reside in rural locations.
Verisk, a data
analytics provider, announced today that it has acquiredFranco Signor, a Medicare Secondary Payer
(MSP) service provider to America’s largest insurance carriers and employers.
As part of the acquisition, Franco Signor will become part of Verisk’s Claims
Partners business, a leading provider of MSP compliance and other analytic
claim services. Claims Partners and Franco Signor will be combining forces to
provide the single best resource for Medicare compliance.
Rubicon Technology Partners Acquires Central Logic
Private equity firm Rubicon Technology Partners acquires
Central Logic, a provider of patient orchestration and tools to accelerate
access to care for healthcare organizations. Rubicon will be aggressively driving Central Logic’s
growth with additional cash investments into the business, with a focus
on product innovation, sales expansion, delivery and customer support, and
the pursuit of acquisition opportunities.
As we close out the year, we asked several healthcare executives to share their predictions and trends for 2021.
Kimberly Powell, Vice President & General Manager, NVIDIA Healthcare
Federated Learning: The clinical community will increase their use of federated learning approaches to build robust AI models across various institutions, geographies, patient demographics, and medical scanners. The sensitivity and selectivity of these models are outperforming AI models built at a single institution, even when there is copious data to train with. As an added bonus, researchers can collaborate on AI model creation without sharing confidential patient information. Federated learning is also beneficial for building AI models for areas where data is scarce, such as for pediatrics and rare diseases.
AI-Driven Drug Discovery: The COVID-19 pandemic has put a spotlight on drug discovery, which encompasses microscopic viewing of molecules and proteins, sorting through millions of chemical structures, in-silico methods for screening, protein-ligand interactions, genomic analysis, and assimilating data from structured and unstructured sources. Drug development typically takes over 10 years, however, in the wake of COVID, pharmaceutical companies, biotechs, and researchers realize that acceleration of traditional methods is paramount. Newly created AI-powered discovery labs with GPU-accelerated instruments and AI models will expedite time to insight — creating a computing time machine.
Smart Hospitals: The need for smart hospitals has never been more urgent. Similar to the experience at home, smart speakers and smart cameras help automate and inform activities. The technology, when used in hospitals, will help scale the work of nurses on the front lines, increase operational efficiency, and provide virtual patient monitoring to predict and prevent adverse patient events.
Omri Shor, CEO of Medisafe
Healthcare policy: Expect to see more moves on prescription drug prices, either through a collaborative effort among pharma groups or through importation efforts. Pre-existing conditions will still be covered for the 135 million Americans with pre-existing conditions.
The Biden administration has made this a central element of this platform, so coverage will remain for those covered under ACA. Look for expansion or revisions of the current ACA to be proposed, but stalled in Congress, so existing law will remain largely unchanged. Early feedback indicates the Supreme Court is unlikely to strike down the law entirely, providing relief to many during a pandemic.
Brent D. Lang, Chairman & Chief Executive Officer, Vocera Communications
The safety and well-being of healthcare workers will be a top priority in 2021. While there are promising headlines about coronavirus vaccines, we can be sure that nurses, doctors, and other care team members will still be on the frontlines fighting COVID-19 for many more months. We must focus on protecting and connecting these essential workers now and beyond the pandemic.
Modernized PPE Standards Clinicians should not risk contamination to communicate with colleagues. Yet, this simple act can be risky without the right tools. To minimize exposure to infectious diseases, more hospitals will rethink personal protective equipment (PPE) and modernize standards to include hands-free communication technology. In addition to protecting people, hands-free communication can save valuable time and resources. Every time a nurse must leave an isolation room to answer a call, ask a question, or get supplies, he or she must remove PPE and don a fresh set to re-enter. With voice-controlled devices worn under PPE, the nurse can communicate without disrupting care or leaving the patient’s bedside.
Voice-controlled solutions can also help new or reassigned care team members who are unfamiliar with personnel, processes, or the location of supplies. Instead of worrying about knowing names or numbers, they can use simple voice commands to connect to the right person, group, or information quickly and safely. In addition to simplifying clinical workflows, an intelligent communication system can streamline operational efficiencies, improve triage and throughput, and increase capacity, which is all essential to hospitals seeking ways to recover from 2020 losses and accelerate growth.
Michael Byczkowski, Global Vice President, Head of Healthcare Industry at SAP,
New, targeted healthcare networks will collaborate and innovate to improve patient outcomes.
We will see many more touchpoints between different entities ranging from healthcare providers and life sciences companies to technology providers and other suppliers, fostering a sense of community within the healthcare industry. More organizations will collaborate based on existing data assets, perform analysis jointly, and begin adding innovative, data-driven software enhancements. With these networks positively influencing the efficacy of treatments while automatically managing adherence to local laws and regulations regarding data use and privacy, they are paving the way for software-defined healthcare.
Smart hospitals will create actionable insights for the entire organization out of existing data and information.
Medical records as well as operational data within a hospital will continue to be digitized and will be combined with experience data, third-party information, and data from non-traditional sources such as wearables and other Internet of Things devices. Hospitals that have embraced digital are leveraging their data to automate tasks and processes as well as enable decision support for their medical and administrative staff. In the near future, hospitals could add intelligence into their enterprise environments so they can use data to improve internal operations and reduce overhead.
Curt Medeiros, President and Chief Operating Officer of Ontrak
As health care costs continue to rise dramatically given the pandemic and its projected aftermath, I see a growing and critical sophistication in healthcare analytics taking root more broadly than ever before. Effective value-based care and network management depend on the ability of health plans and providers to understand what works, why, and where best to allocate resources to improve outcomes and lower costs. Tied to the need for better analytics, I see a tipping point approaching for finally achieving better data security and interoperability. Without the ability to securely share data, our industry is trying to solve the world’s health challenges with one hand tied behind our backs.
G. Cameron Deemer, President, DrFirst
Like many business issues, the question of whether to use single-vendor solutions or a best-of-breed approach swings back and forth in the healthcare space over time. Looking forward, the pace of technology change is likely to swing the pendulum to a new model: systems that are supplemental to the existing core platform. As healthcare IT matures, it’s often not a question of ‘can my vendor provide this?’ but ‘can my vendor provide this in the way I need it to maximize my business processes and revenues?
This will be more clear with an example: An EHR may provide a medication history function, for instance, but does it include every source of medication history available? Does it provide a medication history that is easily understood and acted upon by the provider? Does it provide a medication history that works properly with all downstream functions in the EHR? When a provider first experiences medication history during a patient encounter, it seems like magic.
After a short time, the magic fades to irritation as the incompleteness of the solution becomes more obvious. Much of the newer healthcare technologies suffer this same incompleteness. Supplementing the underlying system’s capabilities with a strongly integrated third-party system is increasingly going to be the strategy of choice for providers.
Angie Franks, CEO of Central Logic
In 2021, we will see more health systems moving towards the goal of truly operating as one system of care. The pandemic has demonstrated in the starkest terms how crucial it is for health systems to have real-time visibility into available beds, providers, transport, and scarce resources such as ventilators and drugs, so patients with COVID-19 can receive the critical care they need without delay. The importance of fully aligning as a single integrated system that seamlessly shares data and resources with a centralized, real-time view of operations is a lesson that will resonate with many health systems.
Expect in 2021 for health systems to enhance their ability to orchestrate and navigate patient transitions across their facilities and through the continuum of care, including post-acute care. Ultimately, this efficient care access across all phases of care will help healthcare organizations regain revenue lost during the historic drop in elective care in 2020 due to COVID-19.
In addition to elevating revenue capture, improving system-wide orchestration and navigation will increase health systems’ bed availability and access for incoming patients, create more time for clinicians to operate at the top of their license, and reduce system leakage. This focus on creating an ‘operating as one’ mindset will not only help health systems recover from 2020 losses, it will foster sustainable and long-term growth in 2021 and well into the future.
John Danaher, MD, President, Global Clinical Solutions, Elsevier
COVID-19 has brought renewed attention to healthcare inequities in the U.S., with the disproportionate impact on people of color and minority populations. It’s no secret that there are indicative factors, such as socioeconomic level, education and literacy levels, and physical environments, that influence a patient’s health status. Understanding these social determinants of health (SDOH) better and unlocking this data on a wider scale is critical to the future of medicine as it allows us to connect vulnerable populations with interventions and services that can help improve treatment decisions and health outcomes. In 2021, I expect the health informatics industry to take a larger interest in developing technologies that provide these kinds of in-depth population health insights.
Jay Desai, CEO and co-founder of PatientPing
2021 will see an acceleration of care coordination across the continuum fueled by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) Interoperability and Patient Access rule’s e-notifications Condition of Participation (CoP), which goes into effect on May 1, 2021. The CoP requires all hospitals, psych hospitals, and critical access hospitals that have a certified electronic medical record system to provide notification of admit, discharge, and transfer, at both the emergency room and the inpatient setting, to the patient’s care team. Due to silos, both inside and outside of a provider’s organization, providers miss opportunities to best treat their patients simply due to lack of information on patients and their care events.
This especially impacts the most vulnerable patients, those that suffer from chronic conditions, comorbidities or mental illness, or patients with health disparities due to economic disadvantage or racial inequity. COVID-19 exacerbated the impact on these vulnerable populations. To solve for this, healthcare providers and organizations will continue to assess their care coordination strategies and expand their patient data interoperability initiatives in 2021, including becoming compliant with the e-notifications Condition of Participation.
Kuldeep Singh Rajput, CEO and founder of Biofourmis
Driven by CMS’ Acute Hospital at Home program announced in November 2020, we will begin to see more health systems delivering hospital-level care in the comfort of the patient’s home–supported by technologies such as clinical-grade wearables, remote patient monitoring, and artificial intelligence-based predictive analytics and machine learning.
A randomized controlled trial by Brigham Health published in Annals of Internal Medicine earlier this year demonstrated that when compared with usual hospital care, Home Hospital programs can reduce rehospitalizations by 70% while decreasing costs by nearly 40%. Other advantages of home hospital programs include a reduction in hospital-based staffing needs, increased capacity for those patients who do need inpatient care, decreased exposure to COVID-19 and other viruses such as influenza for patients and healthcare professionals, and improved patient and family member experience.
Jake Pyles, CEO, CipherHealth
The disappearance of the hospital monopoly will give rise to a new loyalty push
Healthcare consumerism was on the rise ahead of the pandemic, but the explosion of telehealth in 2020 has effectively eliminated the geographical constraints that moored patient populations to their local hospitals and providers. The fallout has come in the form of widespread network leakage and lost revenue. By October, in fact, revenue for hospitals in the U.S. was down 9.2% year-over-year. Able to select providers from the comfort of home and with an ever-increasing amount of personal health data at their convenience through the growing use of consumer-grade wearable devices, patients are more incentivized in 2021 to choose the provider that works for them.
After the pandemic fades, we’ll see some retrenchment from telehealth, but it will remain a mainstream care delivery model for large swaths of the population. In fact, post-pandemic, we believe telehealth will standardize and constitute a full 30% to 40% of interactions.
That means that to compete, as well as to begin to recover lost revenue, hospitals need to go beyond offering the same virtual health convenience as their competitors – Livango and Teladoc should have been a shot across the bow for every health system in 2020. Moreover, hospitals need to become marketing organizations. Like any for-profit brand, hospitals need to devote significant resources to building loyalty but have traditionally eschewed many of the cutting-edge marketing techniques used in other industries. Engagement and personalization at every step of the patient journey will be core to those efforts.
Marc Probst, former Intermountain Health System CIO, Advisor for SR Health by Solutionreach
Healthcare will fix what it’s lacking most–communication.
Because every patient and their health is unique, when it comes to patient care, decisions need to be customized to their specific situation and environment, yet done in a timely fashion. In my two decades at one of the most innovative health systems in the U.S., communication, both across teams and with patients continuously has been less than optimal. I believe we will finally address both the interpersonal and interface communication issues that organizations have faced since the digitization of healthcare.”
Rich Miller, Chief Strategy Officer, Qgenda
2021 – The year of reforming healthcare: We’ve been looking at ways to ease healthcare burdens for patients for so long that we haven’t realized the onus we’ve put on providers in doing so. Adding to that burden, in 2020 we had to throw out all of our playbooks and become masters of being reactive. Now, it’s time to think through the lessons learned and think through how to be proactive. I believe provider-based data will allow us to reformulate our priorities and processes. By analyzing providers’ biggest pain points in real-time, we can evaporate the workflow and financial troubles that have been bothering organizations while also relieving providers of their biggest problems.”
Robert Hanscom, JD, Vice President of Risk Management and Analytics at Coverys
Data Becomes the Fix, Not the Headache for Healthcare
The past 10 years have been challenging for an already overextended healthcare workforce. Rising litigation costs, higher severity claims, and more stringent reimbursement mandates put pressure on the bottom line. Continued crises in combination with less-than-optimal interoperability and design of health information systems, physician burnout, and loss of patient trust, have put front-line clinicians and staff under tremendous pressure.
Looking to the future, it is critical to engage beyond the day to day to rise above the persistent risks that challenge safe, high-quality care on the frontline. The good news is healthcare leaders can take advantage of tools that are available to generate, package, and learn from data – and use them to motivate action.
Steve Betts, Chief of Operations and Products at Gray Matter Analytics
Analytics Divide Intensifies: Just like the digital divide is widening in society, the analytics divide will continue to intensify in healthcare. The role of data in healthcare has shifted rapidly, as the industry has wrestled with an unsustainable rate of increasing healthcare costs. The transition to value-based care means that it is now table stakes to effectively manage clinical quality measures, patient/member experience measures, provider performance measures, and much more. In 2021, as the volume of data increases and the intelligence of the models improves, the gap between the haves and have nots will significantly widen at an ever-increasing rate.
Substantial Investment in Predictive Solutions: The large health systems and payors will continue to invest tens of millions of dollars in 2021. This will go toward building predictive models to infuse intelligent “next best actions” into their workflows that will help them grow and manage the health of their patient/member populations more effectively than the small and mid-market players.
Jennifer Price, Executive Director of Data & Analytics at THREAD
The Rise of Home-based and Decentralized Clinical Trial Participation
In 2020, we saw a significant rise in home-based activities such as online shopping, virtual school classes and working from home. Out of necessity to continue important clinical research, home health services and decentralized technologies also moved into the home. In 2021, we expect to see this trend continue to accelerate, with participants receiving clinical trial treatments at home, home health care providers administering procedures and tests from the participant’s home, and telehealth virtual visits as a key approach for sites and participants to communicate. Hybrid decentralized studies that include a mix of on-site visits, home health appointments and telehealth virtual visits will become a standard option for a range of clinical trials across therapeutic areas. Technological advances and increased regulatory support will continue to enable the industry to move out of the clinic and into the home.
Doug Duskin, President of the Technology Division at Equality Health
Value-based care has been a watchword of the healthcare industry for many years now, but advancement into more sophisticated VBC models has been slower than anticipated. As we enter 2021, providers – particularly those in fee-for-service models who have struggled financially due to COVID-19 – and payers will accelerate this shift away from fee-for-service medicine and turn to technology that can facilitate and ease the transition to more risk-bearing contracts. Value-based care, which has proven to be a more stable and sustainable model throughout the pandemic, will seem much more appealing to providers that were once reluctant to enter into risk-bearing contracts. They will no longer be wondering if they should consider value-based contracting, but how best to engage.
Brian Robertson, CEO of VisiQuate
Continued digitization and integration of information assets: In 2021, this will lead to better performance outcomes and clearer, more measurable examples of “return on data, analytics, and automation.
Digitizing healthcare’s complex clinical, financial, and operational information assets: I believe that providers who are further in the digital transformation journey will make better use of their interconnected assets, and put the healthcare consumer in the center of that highly integrated universe. Healthcare consumer data will be studied, better analyzed, and better predicted to drive improved performance outcomes that benefit the patient both clinically and financially.
Some providers will have leapfrog moments: These transformations will be so significant that consumers will easily recognize that they are receiving higher value. Lower acuity telemedicine and other virtual care settings are great examples that lead to improved patient engagement, experience and satisfaction. Device connectedness and IoT will continue to mature, and better enable chronic disease management, wellness, and other healthy lifestyle habits for consumers.
Kermit S. Randa, CEO of Syntellis Performance Solutions
Healthcare CEOs and CFOs will partner closely with their CIOs on data governance and data distribution planning. With the massive impact of COVID-19 still very much in play in 2021, healthcare executives will need to make frequent data-driven – and often ad-hoc — decisions from more enterprise data streams than ever before. Syntellis research shows that healthcare executives are already laser-focused on cost reduction and optimization, with decreased attention to capital planning and strategic growth. In 2021, there will be a strong trend in healthcare organizations toward new initiatives, including clinical and quality analytics, operational budgeting, and reporting and analysis for decision support.
Dr. Calum Yacoubian, Associate Director of Healthcare Product & Strategy at Linguamatics
As payers and providers look to recover from the damage done by the pandemic, the ability to deliver value from data assets they already own will be key. The pandemic has displayed the siloed nature of healthcare data, and the difficulty in extracting vital information, particularly from unstructured data, that exists. Therefore, technologies and solutions that can normalize these data to deliver deeper and faster insights will be key to driving economic recovery. Adopting technologies such as natural language processing (NLP) will not only offer better population health management, ensuring the patients most in need are identified and triaged but will open new avenues to advance innovations in treatments and improve operational efficiencies.
Prior to the pandemic, there was already an increasing level of focus on the use of real-world data (RWD) to advance the discovery and development of new therapies and understand the efficacy of existing therapies. The disruption caused by COVID-19 has sharpened the focus on RWD as pharma looks to mitigate the effect of the virus on conventional trial recruitment and data collection. One such example of this is the use of secondary data collection from providers to build real-world cohorts which can serve as external comparator arms.
This convergence on seeking value from existing RWD potentially affords healthcare providers a powerful opportunity to engage in more clinical research and accelerate the work to develop life-saving therapies. By mobilizing the vast amount of data, they will offer pharmaceutical companies a mechanism to positively address some of the disruption caused by COVID-19. This movement is one strategy that is key to driving provider recovery in 2021.
Rose Higgins, Chief Executive Officer of HealthMyne
Precision imaging analytics technology, called radiomics, will increasingly be adopted and incorporated into drug development strategies and clinical trials management. These AI-powered analytics will enable drug developers to gain deeper insights from medical images than previously capable, driving accelerated therapy development, greater personalization of treatment, and the discovery of new biomarkers that will enhance clinical decision-making and treatment.
Dharmesh Godha, President and CTO of Advaiya
Greater adoption and creative implementation of remote healthcare will be the biggest trend for the year 2021, along with the continuous adoption of cloud-enabled digital technologies for increased workloads. Remote healthcare is a very open field. The possibilities to innovate in this area are huge. This is the time where we can see the beginning of the convergence of personal health aware IoT devices (smartwatches/ temp sensors/ BP monitors/etc.) with the advanced capabilities of the healthcare technologies available with the monitoring and intervention capabilities for the providers.
Simon Wu, Investment Director, Cathay Innovation
Healthcare Data Proves its Weight in Gold in 2021
Real-world evidence or routinely stored data from hospitals and claims, being leveraged by healthcare providers and biopharma companies along with those that can improve access to data will grow exponentially in the coming year. There are many trying to build in-house, but similar to autonomous technology, there will be a separate set of companies emerge in 2021 to provide regulated infrastructure and have their “AWS” moment.
Kyle Raffaniello, CEO of Sapphire Digital
2021 is a clear year for healthcare price transparency
Over the past year, healthcare price transparency has been a key topic for the Trump administration in an effort to lower healthcare costs for Americans. In recent months, COVID-19 has made the topic more important to patients than ever before. Starting in January, we can expect the incoming Biden administration to not only support the existing federal transparency regulations but also continue to push for more transparency and innovation within Medicare. I anticipate that healthcare price transparency will continue its momentum in 2021 as one of two Price Transparency rules takes effect and the Biden administration supports this movement.
Dennis McLaughlin VP of Omni Operations + Product at ibi
Social Determinants of Health Goes Mainstream: Understanding more about the patient and their personal environment has a hot topic the past two years. Providers and payers’ ability to inject this knowledge and insight into the clinical process has been limited. 2021 is the year it gets real. It’s not just about calling an uber anymore. The organizations that broadly factor SDOH into the servicing model especially with virtualized medicine expanding broadly will be able to more effectively reach vulnerable patients and maximize the effectiveness of care.
Joe Partlow, CTO at ReliaQuest
The biggest threat to personal privacy will be healthcare information: Researchers are rushing to pool resources and data sets to tackle the pandemic, but this new era of openness comes with concerns around privacy, ownership, and ethics. Now, you will be asked to share your medical status and contact information, not just with your doctors, but everywhere you go, from workplaces to gyms to restaurants. Your personal health information is being put in the hands of businesses that may not know how to safeguard it. In 2021, cybercriminals will capitalize on rapid U.S. telehealth adoption. Sharing this information will have major privacy implications that span beyond keeping medical data safe from cybercriminals to wider ethics issues and insurance implications.
Jimmy Nguyen, Founding President at Bitcoin Association
Blockchain solutions in the healthcare space will bring about massive improvements in two primary ways in 2021.
Firstly, blockchain applications will for the first time facilitate patients owning, managing, and even monetizing their personal health data. Today’s healthcare information systems are incredibly fragmented, with patient data from different sources – be they physicians, pharmacies, labs, or otherwise – kept in different silos, eliminating the ability to generate a holistic view of patient information and restricting healthcare providers from producing the best health outcomes.
Healthcare organizations are growing increasingly aware of the ways in which blockchain technology can be used to eliminate data silos, enable real-time access to patient information, and return control to patients for the use of their personal data – all in a highly-secure digital environment. 2021 will be the year that patient data goes blockchain.
Secondly, blockchain solutions can ensure more honesty and transparency in the development of pharmaceutical products. Clinical research data is often subject to questions of integrity or ‘hygiene’ if data is not properly recorded, or worse, is deliberately fabricated. Blockchain technology enables easy, auditable tracking of datasets generated by clinical researchers, benefitting government agencies tasked with approving drugs while producing better health outcomes for healthcare providers and patients. In 2021, I expect to see a rise in the use and uptake of applications that use public blockchain systems to incentivize greater honesty in clinical research.
Alex Lazarow, Investment Director, Cathay Innovation
The Future of US Healthcare is Transparent, Fair, Open and Consumer-Driven
In the last year, the pandemic put a spotlight on the major gaps in healthcare in the US, highlighting a broken system that is one of the most expensive and least distributed in the world. While we’ve already seen many boutique healthcare companies emerge to address issues around personalization, quality and convenience, the next few years will be focused on giving the power back to consumers, specifically with the rise of insurtechs, in fixing the transparency, affordability, and incentive issues that have plagued the private-based US healthcare system until now.
Lisa Romano, RN, Chief Nursing Officer, CipherHealth
Hospitals will need to counter the staff wellness fallout
The pandemic has placed unthinkable stress on frontline healthcare workers. Since it began, they’ve been working under conditions that are fundamentally more dangerous, with fewer resources, and in many cases under the heavy emotional burden of seeing several patients lose their battle with COVID-19. The fallout from that is already beginning – doctors and nurses are leaving the profession, or getting sick, or battling mental health struggles. Nursing programs are struggling to fill classes. As a new wave of the pandemic rolls across the country, that fallout will only increase. If they haven’t already, hospitals in 2021 will place new premiums upon staff wellness and staff health, tapping into the same type of outreach and purposeful rounding solutions they use to round on patients.
Kris Fitzgerald, CTO, NTT DATA Services
Quality metrics for health plans – like data that measures performance – was turned on its head in 2020 due to delayed procedures. In the coming year, we will see a lot of plans interpret these delayed procedures flexibly so they honor their plans without impacting providers. However, for so long, the payer’s use of data and the provider’s use of data has been disconnected. Moving forward the need for providers to have a more specific understanding of what drives the value and if the cost is reasonable for care from the payer perspective is paramount. Data will ensure that this collaboration will be enhanced and the concept of bundle payments and aligning incentives will be improved. As the data captured becomes even richer, it will help people plan and manage their care better. The addition of artificial intelligence (AI) to this data will also play a huge role in both dialog and negotiation when it comes to cost structure. This movement will lead to a spike in value-based care adoption
– Pfizer, AstraZeneca, Merck, and Teva, and Amazon Web Services (AWS) has been selected by the Israel Innovation Authority to establish an innovation lab in the fields of digital health and computational biology.
– The innovation lab located in the Rehovot Science Park will
receive a government budget of $10M over the next five years and is slated to
start operations in 2021.
The group will establish the Lab at the Rehovot Science Park
and invest in building a wet computational lab infrastructure in order to
assist early-stage entrepreneurs and startups to meet the challenges of the
healthcare industry, from the ideation stage to attaining proof of concept. The
Lab, scheduled to open in 2021, will be joining existing innovation labs as
part of the Israel Innovation Authority’s Innovation Lab Program.
$10M Operational Budget Over Next 5 Years
The innovation lab will operate on a government budget of
NIS 32 million ($10M USD), as well as additional funding from the partner companies.
The group will operate over the next five years, during which the Innovation
Authority, together with the National Digital Ministry, will finance 85% of a
total NIS 3 million budget for each startup that joins the lab, enabling them
to reach significant milestones in their technological development. The
Innovation Authority and National Digital Ministry will also participate in the
operating costs and in setting up the lab’s infrastructure.
Innovation Lab Focus Areas
The purpose of the Lab is to assist in the establishment and advancement of new startups developing innovative AI-based computational technologies aimed at discovering personalized solutions and treatments. The Lab will also help its startups — with the assistance of the lab partners and access they provide to their unique scientific know-how and leading experts — in developing groundbreaking medications and treatments.
“This last year proved that the healthcare sector is rapidly transitioning to development and use of advanced technologies integrating engineering and biology, which has already led to more accurate results within a shorter time framework. This lab is part of the ‘Bio-convergence Strategy’ promoted by the Innovation Authority over the last year, aimed at establishing a successful, innovative ecosystem in the healthcare sector, which will serve as a proper basis for establishing innovative companies based on groundbreaking academic research performed in these areas in Israel. The expertise and vast experience of the lab partners will enable these companies to establish a significant, trailblazing industry in Israel,” said Aharon Aharon, CEO of the Innovation Authority.
– Service commerce platform EverCommerce acquires Dublin,
OH-based Updox, a healthcare communication platform for in-person and virtual
– The acquisition
expands EverCommerce’s health services portfolio and enables the companies to
further their shared goal of simplifying the business of healthcare and
facilitating the growth of healthcare practices.
Today, EverCommerce, a leading service commerce platform, completed the acquisition of Updox, a Dublin, OH-based complete healthcare communication platform for in-person and virtual care. The company will join EverCommerce’s portfolio of health services companies, enabling it to provide customers with faster access to more products, a broader suite of solutions, and more resources.
The acquisition comes on the heels of a breakout year for
virtual care. Digital health is on track to hit over $12 billion in investments
by the end of 2020 – the largest funding year for the sector yet – and over 60
acquisitions through the end of Q3, including other telehealth breakouts like
Teladoc, which recently completed its acquisition of Livongo in a deal valued
at over $18B.
Deliver the Best in Virtual & In-Person Care
Updox provides next-generation virtual care, patient engagement, and office productivity solutions that enable practices to reduce costs and drive revenue. Based on increasing demand for solutions that seamlessly work together to improve practice efficiency and provide an engaging patient experience, Updox has continuously brought new functionality to market. Additional solutions are planned for 2021.
Updox serves more than 560,000 users across healthcare practices, health systems and pharmacies, and more than 210 million patients. Updox has experienced rapid growth and adoption this year, as healthcare providers sought to quickly implement telehealth and other patient engagement solutions that enabled them to acquire new patients, operate more efficiently, and engage their patients as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. In fact, Updox facilitated over 3.5 million telehealth visits since March and continues to support more than 15,000 visits per day.
The EverCommerce health services portfolio includes a
diverse mix of solutions including cloud-based medical billing, specialty EHR,
practice management, RCM software, lead generation, marketing solutions and
retention services for healthcare practices. With this acquisition,
EverCommerce will advance its mission to provide end-to-end mission-critical
solutions that enable healthcare practices to accelerate growth, streamline
operations and increase patient retention.
“Now more than ever, healthcare providers need a one-stop-shop to acquire new patients, operate more efficiently and engage their patients. They also need one single place to communicate with patients where they are – on their mobile phones,” said Michael Morgan, president of Updox. “We’re thrilled to join the EverCommerce team, which shares our vision for advancing healthcare. We look forward to accelerating innovative solutions that enable healthcare practices to more effectively market to patients, simplify payments, and effectively interact with patients both in and outside the practice.”
Reviewing 2019’s key digital health stories last year I suggested that, while big strides continued to be made, any definitive ‘coming of age’ moment for the sector was unlikely.
But that was before the first reports emerged of a highly contagious coronavirus and 2020 will be forever associated with COVID-19 and the global devastation and disruption it has wrought.
Now, after a year that feels like it had many more than the usual 12 months, ‘digital’ has most certainly come of age across all aspects of our lives, including communication, commerce, working life and, yes, health.
So, what were the standout changes for digital health, and digital pharma for that matter, in this most unusual of years?
I suppose I could just answer ‘COVID’ and be done with it.
In fact, preparing for our year in review articles, we decided in our editorial meeting to have at least one look at medical progress away from COVID.
Nevertheless, the pandemic was clearly the biggest change-agent for digital health and digital pharma in 2020.
1. Digital transformation moved front and centre
COVID-19 brought rapid, deep and likely lasting changes to healthcare and the pharmaceutical sector, as both scrambled to respond to unprecedented demands.
Consequently, what might previously have looked upon as a 3, 5 or even 10 year plan suddenly required progress within just days or weeks.
As I noted earlier this year, healthcare companies went from being lost in a ‘digitalisation jungle’ in 2019, to this year making huge progress thanks to the ‘digital accelerant’ of COVID, with many channels being used for the first time as a result of the pandemic.
2. Telehealth reached a tipping point
The rapid digitalisation of life during COVID-19’s acute phase also had a huge impact on healthcare delivery.
If you, or someone you know, has had to see a doctor since March, the chances are the health service tried to avoid an in-person visit to limit the spread of the coronavirus. Here in the UK, as elsewhere, directives from the top made adopting telehealth a vital part of the pandemic response.
Questions certainly remain about how far the use of telemedicine will return to pre-COVID times, but the sustained focus on changing healthcare models this year looks to have put in place a lasting transformation.
3. AI made historical progress
Moving away from COVID, up to a point, and artificial intelligence (AI) in pharma and healthcare looked to be everywhere this year, having already made significant moves towards centre stage in 2019.
Google’s AI company DeepMind grabbed many headlines in November when it solved the 50-year-‘protein folding problem’, but there was less theoretical progress made too with the announcement in Nature Medicine of new standards for clinical trials that involve AI.
The CONSORT-AI reporting guideline should help determine the difference between hype and useful data when AI is used in medical studies – a small, but growing area.
Meanwhile, just one of the big pharma companies expanding its focus on AI was GlaxoSmithKline, which opened a new AI hub in London in September and hopes to end 2020 with a nearly 100-strong AI team.
4. The FDA took a strategic approach to digital health
Although a few years in the making, the new centre should accelerate the FDA’s responses to new mobile health devices, software as a medical device, wearables and a range of other types of health tech, particularly when coupled with the September update to its digital health pre-certification programme.
It wasn’t the only major body taking steps to advance digital health this year, with the WHO publishing in February its draft global strategy on digital health for the next five years, in which it noted:
“Digital technologies are an essential component and an enabler of sustainable health systems and universal health coverage. To realise their potential, digital health initiatives must be part of the wider health needs and the digital health ecosystem and guided by a robust strategy that integrates leadership, financial, organisational, human and technological resources.”
5. Record-breaking digital health investments
Investor interest in digital health has been running high for some time but, with all of the above going on this year, 2020 is looking like being a banner year for deals.
With fragmentation still an issue in the sector, further consolidation is expected if the current lack of scale among some companies is to be overcome, and well-placed observers see large amounts of private equity waiting in the wings to support this.
Looking back on this year, we can see digital health increasingly becoming a necessity for ensuring patients have the best outcomes.
Consequently, the advances seen in 2020 should provide solid foundations for pharma companies – and others in the digital health ecosystem – to continue to make further progress in the new year, and beyond.
About the author
Dominic Tyer is a journalist and editor specialising in the pharmaceutical and healthcare industries. He is currently pharmaphorum’s interim managing editor and is also creative and editorial director at the company’s specialist healthcare content consultancy pharmaphorum connect.
– Amazon, CVS Health, Thermo Fisher Scientific join forces to
promote employer-based testing As part of a comprehensive COVID-19 testing strategy.
– The coalition, named Workplace Employers Alliance for
COVID-19 Testing (WE ACT), believes
that employer-based testing programs are essential to keeping employees safe
during the current public health emergency.
– WE ACT aims to
advance a comprehensive national testing strategy that includes clear guidance
for the implementation of testing programs and results reporting; to ensure
access to high-quality, FDA authorized COVID-19 tests for employers; and to
serve as a resource for any employer who wishes to launch or expand an
employer–based testing program.
– As a nonpartisan coalition, WE ACT and its partners
believe that combating the COVID-19
pandemic requires an all-hands-on-deck approach.
– In partnership with JP Morgan Chase; United Way; top
healthcare organizations including Anthem, Centene, One Medical and Epic; and
other non-profit and community partners, Lyft’s goal is to facilitate 60M safe
rides to vaccination sites.
– Lyft’s vaccine access campaign will help the communities who need it most safely travel to receive the vaccine. These rides will be facilitated through its business segment, Lyft Healthcare, and social impact initiative LyftUp.
Inc. announced the launch of a nationwide campaign to support universal
access to the COVID-19
vaccine. The goal of this effort is to provide 60 million rides to and from
vaccination sites for low-income, uninsured, and at-risk communities, when the
vaccine becomes available.
Corporate partners JP Morgan Chase and Anthem Inc. and community partner United Way will be working alongside Lyft to lead the effort, with many other businesses, healthcare, and technology partners preparing to join the campaign as vaccines become available in the coming weeks.
Additional program partners signing on to launch the effort include Epic, Centene Corporation, Modern Health, One Medical, National Hispanic Council on Aging, National Asian Pacific Center on Aging, National Urban League, and the National Action Network.
Lack of Transportation Could Prevent Millions of People
from Being Vaccinated
Lyft’s on-demand transportation network provides critical
access to healthcare services for at-risk communities disproportionately
affected by COVID-19, including non-emergency medical transport for home-bound
seniors, people living with disabilities, and dialysis patients. Many of these
patients belong to vulnerable populations who will be prioritized for early
vaccine distribution, and Lyft’s healthcare transportation services will play a
critical role in transporting them to and from vaccination sites.
“Access to reliable transportation represents a major barrier to care for millions of Americans across the country,” said Megan Callahan, MPH, VP of Lyft Healthcare. “In fact, lack of transportation is one of the top reasons people miss medical appointments. The COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated this problem, creating a huge challenge in making sure vulnerable populations have access to the vaccine — especially for seniors living alone, low income workers, and parents with young children. We estimate that 15 million Americans will face transportation issues trying to get to vaccination sites. That’s where Lyft can make a difference.”
LyftUp Initiative to Serve Underserved Communities
The universal vaccine access campaign is part of the
company’s LyftUp initiative, a partnership of companies, community
organizations and individuals working together to make sure everyone has access
to affordable, reliable transportation to get where they need to go. Working
together using Lyft’s transportation platform, companies and social impact
organizations will help underserved communities access vaccination appointments
by providing subsidized rides for employees and members, and free or discounted
rides for those in need.
In addition to directly funding rides, corporate partners
will leverage their customers and member networks to promote individual
contributions to the campaign as well as provide social media and marketing
resources to connect people in need with community partners. Community
partners will then route ride credits to those in need.
– Vida’s diabetes management program
achieves lasting results for participants. Because chronic conditions like diabetes,
obesity, and hypertension often occur simultaneously, Vida’s unique program was
built from the ground up to treat multiple conditions at the same time.
– The new partnership, which will launch in
January of 2021, allows eligible individuals access to Vida’s group diabetes
coaching, in-app peer group support, digital therapeutics for diabetes and
co-occurring chronic conditions, and more to help them manage their diabetes
and their whole health.
– Kentucky has the seventh highest prevalence of diabetes of any state with 13.7% of the
adult population reporting having the disease, well above the U.S. average of
10.9%. The percent of Kentuckians with diabetes has more than doubled since
2000 when only 6.5% of the population reported having been diagnosed.
Additionally, about two thirds of adult Kentuckians are considered overweight or obese
which increases the risk of Type II Diabetes among other chronic illnesses.
– The mobile-first experience is uniquely
personalized to each user through a combination of provider expertise and
machine learning algorithms that utilize data from 100+ app and device
integrations, as well as biometric data, and more to personalize the program
and content. The program addresses the root causes behind an individual’s
diabetes, and, using the power of human connection, psychology, and nutritional
expertise, Vida drives long-term behaviors that shift the course of the
– Philips and BioIntelliSense has been selected by the
U.S. Army Medical Research and Development Command (USAMRDC) to receive nearly $2.8M
from the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) to validate BioIntelliSense’s
FDA-cleared BioSticker device for the early detection of COVID-19 symptoms.
– Working with the University of Colorado Anschutz
Medical Campus, the clinical study will consist of 2,500 eligible participants
with a recent, known COVID-19 exposure and/or a person experiencing early
Philips and BioIntelliSense,
Inc., a continuous health monitoring and clinical intelligence company, today
announced they have been selected by the U.S. Army Medical Research and
Development Command (USAMRDC) to receive nearly $2.8M from the U.S. Department
of Defense (DoD) through a Medical Technology Enterprise Consortium (MTEC)
award to validate BioIntelliSense’s FDA-cleared BioSticker device for the early
detection of COVID-19
symptoms. The goal of the award is to accelerate the use of wearable
diagnostics for the benefit of military and public health through the early
identification and containment of pre-symptomatic COVID-19 cases.
Medical-Grade Wearable for Early COVID-19 Detection
As millions of individuals have been screened and tested, the emerging research on traditional screening methods is revealing how challenging it is to detect the risk of COVID-19 infections early. Temperature checks have proven to be unreliable and even amplified testing (PCR) has proven to be ineffective in identifying the virus in the early days of infection.
The FDA-cleared BioSticker is an advanced on-body sensor
that allows for effortless continuous monitoring of temperature and vital signs
combined with advanced analytics, enables the BioSticker to identify
statistically meaningful trends and screen for early potential COVID-19
“The medical-grade BioSticker wearable, combined with advanced diagnostic algorithms, may serve as the basis for identifying pre- and very early symptomatic COVID-19 cases, allow for earlier treatment for infected individuals, as well as reduce the spread of the virus to others,” said James Mault, MD, Founder and CEO of BioIntelliSense.
Clinical Trial Details
Working with the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus, the
clinical study will consist of 2,500 eligible participants with a recent, known
COVID-19 exposure and/or a person experiencing early COVID-19 symptoms.
Individuals may learn more about the study eligibility and enroll online
The research will focus on the validation of BioIntelliSense’s BioSticker for
early detection of COVID-like symptoms, as well as assessment of scalability,
reliability, software interface, and user environment testing.
Turning Data into Actionable Insights
While previous studies have shown potential using consumer wearables in relation to COVID-19, this study will leverage BioIntelliSense’s medical-grade wearable, the BioSticker, which enables continuous multi-parameter vital signs monitoring for 30 days and captures data across a broad set of vital signs, physiological biometrics and symptomatic events, including those directly associated with COVID-19. With its integration into Philips’ remote patient monitoring offerings, this is another example of how cloud-based data collection takes place seamlessly, across multiple settings, from the hospital to the home. Allowing data to be turned into actionable insights and care interventions, while providing connected, patient-centered care across the health continuum.
Dr. Vik Bebarta, the Founder and Director of the CU Center for COMBAT Research and Professor of Emergency Medicine on the CU Anschutz Medical Campus added: “The University of Colorado School of Medicine and the CU Center for COMBAT Research in the Department of Emergency Medicine are excited to be a lead in this effort that will change how we care for our service members in garrison and our civilians in our communities. The COMBAT Center aims to solve the DoD’s toughest clinical challenges, and the pandemic is certainly one example. With this progressive solution, we aim to detect COVID in the pre-symptomatic or early symptomatic phase to reduce the spread and initiate early treatment. This trusted military-academic-industry partnership is our strength, as we optimize military readiness and reduce this COVID burden in our community and with frontline healthcare workers.”
A recent BBC article discusses the rise in employee health
tracking via wearable devices and highlights a number of concerns around data
privacy. To try and prevent health tracking schemes from crossing ethical
lines, and eroding trust between employee and employer, some industry figures
believe that organizations need to work with third-party vendors who specialize
in managing wellbeing data. These vendors would hold the data independently
under strict privacy rules, and work with employees directly to change their
We recently spoke with Pop, Founder, and CEO of Human API to understand how a user-controlled data platform can address privacy concerns surrounding employee wellness programs. Human API delivers a user-controlled health data ecosystem that gives users full control of which enterprises, insurers, and researchers they want to share their data with to learn more about. The company works alongside a number of organizations such as Omada Health and Thrive Global helping them create wellness programs for their employees while keeping their personal data secure.
HITC: In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, how are
employers investing in employee wellness?
Pop: We have seen a number of different initiatives
across the board. Some of the more obvious include offering access to
mindfulness tools, online workouts, fitness apps, or online counseling services
for key issues such as mental health, financial distress, or relationship
difficulties. Others are more inventive, such as tools that encourage employees
to take breaks or ensure they are working in a safe environment at home.
We believe that one of the most important lessons and
reminders for employers during COVID-19 is that employees are the most valuable
assets for any business. Companies that treat their employees as such and
invest in making their teams feel supported throughout the crisis will thrive
in the long run.
After all, recent studies show that 80% of employees at companies with
developed health and wellness programs feel engaged in their workplace and cared
for by their employers. Modern employees — especially Millennials — are
motivated to join businesses that are committed to their improvement and
progression. While one year ago, this may have meant salary increases and
promotions, through the lens of COVID-19 this also means improving employees’
health and well-being.
Our customers like Thrive Global are actively working with
their employer customers to build additional well-being programs and products
on top of their software platform, to support employee resilience, well-being,
This recognition that healthier, happier employees are proven to be more
creative, productive, and less transient, is driving this increased interest in
wellness initiatives. We believe it will continue to do so well after a vaccine
has solved the immediate threat from COVID-19. Employee well-being is going to
be table stakes in the future for employers who want to attract and retain the
HITC: Has the remote workforce revolution increased
interest in these programs from employers?
Pop: We think about this question a lot since we’re a
virtual-first company by design. Remote working is a trend that has been
accelerated by years due to the pandemic, and our customers are actively
building new wellness solutions to empower employers to take better care of
their people. Wearable devices are now front and center as a way to support
employee wellness, and programs are rapidly emerging to help people stay active
and healthy during these trying times.
Increased interest in wellness solutions to problems
associated with ‘stay at home’ measures — such as a strain on mental health —
is clearly represented in funding data from 2020. A recent report from CB Insights shows that
although wellness applications for general fitness and sleep saw fewer deals
and dollars than they did in the first half of 2019, there has been a spike in
funding for mental health-focused wellness startups.
During the pandemic, which has been described as a ‘mental
health crisis,’ downloads of consumer meditation and mindfulness apps like Calm
and Headspace have increased significantly.
We’re also seeing a lot of movement in the enterprise space.
A couple of examples include Spring Health, a service that helps companies
offer their workers mental health benefits, which recently raised $76 million, and MindLabs,
which recently raised $1.8M for its mobile app combining live videos from
mental health professionals leading meditation and mindfulness sessions, with
an EEG headband that measures heart and respiration rates to show how
successful sessions are in reducing stress.
HITC: What role will user-controlled data platforms play
in working with these enterprises?
Pop: User-controlled data platforms will facilitate
the secure transaction and exchange of fragmented health data to power wellness
solutions, programs, and products, and ultimately accelerate the pace of
innovation for enterprises. Platforms like ours have a vested interest in
earning and keeping user trust, and are able to offer an extra layer of
security and privacy (peace of mind) to end-users. We believe our approach to
enabling data sharing will continue to increase adoption and user participation
in wellness programs and solutions. As we’ve seen in other industries,
companies Uber, and other modern transaction layers that enable trusted
transactions opened the market to new innovations and new consumer behaviors.
Our platform is helping drive enterprise and consumer behavior in a similar way
by accelerating the rise of a consumer health ecosystem that empowers people to
be proactive participants in their own health and well-being.
HITC: How can employees control their data to solve the
Pop: Through our platform, employees can connect and
disconnect a data source any time they want. They are in full control of which
companies have access to their health data, and we’ll never sell any
identifiable employee health data. Our security policy and protocols are designed
in the best interest of employees (end consumers) to maximize trust,
engagement, and participation.
HITC: What challenges and trends do you see heading into
2021 and beyond for the user-controlled health data ecosystem?
Pop: Trust remains a big issue, but we find that
people are beginning to be more comfortable with sharing their data while
they’re at home. I believe the biggest challenge to the rise of a new consumer
health ecosystem is how fast industries and enterprises can adapt and innovate.
This is new terrain that companies are learning to navigate and master. We’re
seeing the emergence of a new wellness paradigm to respond to the pandemic, and
we’re excited to help accelerate the trend of empowering consumers to take
control of their own health. As more health data sources come online, our
consumer health data platform will help enable more innovative products and
solutions. There’s a global opportunity and historic moment here to capitalize
on by leveraging the power of wearable technology and health data to transform
More than 1,000 NHS patients have booked flu vaccinations using a virtual assistant as part of a pilot project in the south east of England.
The pilot project, run in collaboration with GP practices in Buckinghamshire, Brent, and Greenwich, involved patients using the Ask NHS app, which is already used by more than 375,000 patients.
Patients in the pilot used the app developed by Sensely to self-check eligibility and quickly make appointments for flu jabs.
Launched in 2017, the free-to-use Ask NHS app lets users easily check symptoms, book clinician appointments, access self-care resources, and connect with live video consultations.
The app uses Natural Language Processing (NLP) and speech recognition technologies make the conversational interface easy to use, while freeing up doctors and nurses’ time.
Citing post-usage survey data, Sensely claims the app can reduce per-patient costs by as much as 14.4%.
Adding vaccination information, a self-service eligibility check, and booking functionality to Ask NHS lets patients, protect themselves and loved ones, quickly get the information they need and make appointments without having to call their clinic.
Designed in partnership with NHS nurses, the tool also allows high-risk patients to be prioritised based on symptoms or underlying health issues, improving access to vaccinations for vulnerable patients while easing the strain on healthcare providers.
The project sets the stage for the more widespread use of virtual assistants as the UK begins to roll out COVID-19 vaccines.
Sensely is currently developing COVID-specific virtual tools and plans to begin supporting NHS coronavirus vaccination efforts with customised virtual assistant technologies in early 2021.
Sensely CEO Adam Odessky said: “During the pandemic, more people than ever are getting flu shots — but that places an enormous strain on clinics, and those challenges will only increase as we roll out COVID-19 vaccines.
“Our top priority, now and always, is to support the NHS and ensure patients get vaccinations quickly and easily. By using next-gen digital tools as part of an omnichannel strategy, we’re empowering patients to take ownership of their healthcare journey, and protect their families while easing the burden on hardworking doctors and nurses.”
The app is available on iOS and Android smartphones.
An in-depth look at twelve recently released COVID-19 vaccine management solutions as COVID-19 vaccines are being distributed nationwide.
launches a COVID-19 vaccine management platform with partners Accenture and
Avanade, EY, and Mazik Global to help government and healthcare customers
provide fair and equitable vaccine distribution, administration, and monitoring
of vaccine delivery.
Microsoft Consulting Services (MCS) has deployed over 230 emergency COVID-19 response missions globally since the pandemic began in March, including recent engagements to ensure the equitable, secure, and efficient distribution of the COVID-19 vaccine.
Accenture recently rolled out a comprehensive vaccine management solution to help government and healthcare organizations rapidly and effectively plan and develop COVID-19 vaccination programs and related distribution and communication initiatives. Expanding on Accenture’s contact tracing capability that leverages Salesforce’s manual contact tracing solution, the platform is rapidly deployable and designed to securely track a resident’s vaccination journey, from registration and appointment scheduling to final vaccine administration and symptom follow-ups.
VigiLanz, a clinical surveillance company launched their new mass vaccination support software, VigiLanz Vaccinate provides end-to-end management of the entire vaccination process, enabling hospitals to maximize the success of mass vaccination events for healthcare workers. VigiLanz Vaccinate streamlines vaccine administration and management by making it easy for staff to register and provide consent while automating workflows for program administrators. Its real-time insights into volume needs to reduce vaccine waste, while analytics give visibility into vaccination and immunity rates at the individual, department, hospital, and system-level.
UCHealth recently deployed BioIntelliSense BioButton™ Vaccine
Monitoring Solution, an FDA-cleared medical-grade wearable for continuous
vital sign monitoring for up to 90-days (based on configuration) to healthcare
workers receiving COVID-19 vaccine UCHealth’s staff and providers will wear the
BioButton device for two days prior and seven days following a COVID-19 vaccine dose
to detect potential adverse vital sign trends. Together with a daily
vaccination health survey and data insights, the wearer may be alerted of signs
and symptoms to guide appropriate follow-up actions and further medical management.
VaxAtlas launches a
digital platform to support the COVID-19 vaccination process making it easy for
anyone to schedule and manage their vaccinations. Through a comprehensive suite
of on-demand tools, VaxAtlas manages the process of getting COVID vaccinations
from beginning to end. The platform provides access to a national certified
pharmacy network for local appointment scheduling, recall alerts, second dose
reminders, as well as QR clearance passes for vaccine validation. VaxAtlas
alleviates the complexity associated with vaccine logistics and helps to get
people back to work and back to living their lives.
DocASAP launches COVID-19
Vaccination Coordination Solution to help healthcare providers and payers meet
the urgent demand for vaccinating the nation. DocASAP’s COVID-19 Vaccination
Coordination Solution will help providers and payers guide people through the
vaccination process with pre-appointment engagement, online appointment scheduling
and reminders, and post-appointment wellness tracking. This will help reduce
the burden on staff and call centers to manage the sheer volume and complexity
of these appointments, and better coordinate the influx so providers can
effectively deliver the needed care. DocASAP will support the phased approach
to rolling out vaccinations, beginning with front-line healthcare staff.
7. Allied Identity
Allied Identity announced the launch of Vaxtrac, comprehensive vaccination management and credentialing platform designed to aid in the local, national and international response to COVID-19 and other communicable diseases. Vaxtrac uses SICPA’s proprietary CERTUS™ service in order to ensure the security of vaccination records and credentials.
8. Net Health
Net Health has developed a proprietary web-based Mobile Immunization Tracking platform to more efficiently manage on-site
immunizations. To ensure compliance, Net Health’s Mobile Immunization
Tracking platform tracks verification and enables employee consent forms to be
electronically recorded. Immunization data and the Vaccine Information Sheet
(VIS) are pulled directly from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) database
and fields are auto-populated so clinicians do not have to manually enter data.
This ensures information in the employee record is accurate and saves time as
the clinician moves from one employee to the next.
9. Traction on Demand
Vancouver tech company, Traction on Demand,
has developed a COVID-19 Vaccine Clinic Accelerator. The accelerator helps
health authorities track all the critical details of their clinics including
type, location, staff members, and cold storage units available on-site and
applies CDC’s COVID-19 Temporary Clinic Best Practices to a
Salesforce-based mobile app, providing organizations with a digitized CDC
checklist, auditable clinic administration including a permanent auditable
record of all vaccination clinics an organization holds, critical risk
identification, and shift tracking.
10. MTX Group
MTX Group launches a
comprehensive end-to-end COVID-19 vaccine administration, management, and
distribution Solution for state and local public health agencies built on
Salesforce. The MTX vaccine management solution brings together the various
components of a COVID-19 vaccination program, including vaccine administration
and inventory management. MTX also works with public health departments to
identify necessary steps to promote vaccination adoption within a community.
The vaccine management solution is secure, portable, interoperable, and
provides data-driven vaccination program management capabilities.
Vaccination Management (IVM) Salesforce Solution is an end-to-end offering
for automating tasks, integrating data sources, and delivering a seamless
vaccination program that offers supply chain visibility and future demand
forecasting. Disparate systems won’t work for this unprecedented health crisis.
Phresia provides an end-to-end COVID-19 vaccine management solution for outreach, intake, reminder, and recall tools to increase vaccine uptake. Key features include communicating with patients about vaccine availability, send appointment reminders and boost recall, manage your waitlist, automate patient intake for vaccine visits, including consents, questionnaires, and patient education, and screen patients for vaccine hesitancy and maximize uptake by delivering personalized messaging based on those survey results.
– Philips acquires BioTelemetry, a U.S. provider of
remote cardiac diagnostics and monitoring for $72.00 per share for an implied
enterprise value of $2.8 billion (approx. EUR 2.3 billion).
– With $439M in revenue in 2019, BioTelemetry annually monitors over 1 million cardiac patients remotely; its portfolio includes wearable heart monitors, AI-based data analytics, and services.
– BioTelemetry business is expected to deliver double-digit growth and improve its Adjusted EBITA margin to over 20% by 2025; the acquisition will be sales growth and adjusted EBITA margin accretive for Philips in 2021.
announced it has entered in an agreement to acquire BioTelemetry, Inc., a U.S.-based provider
of remote cardiac diagnostics and monitoring for $2.8B ($72 per share), to be
paid in cash upon completion.
USD 72.00 per share, to be paid in cash upon
completion. The board of directors of BioTelemetry has approved the transaction
and recommends the offer to its shareholders. The transaction is expected to be
completed in the first quarter of 2021.
Founded in 1995, BioTelemetry primarily focuses on the diagnosis and monitoring of heart rhythm disorders, representing 85% of its sales. BioTelemetry’s clinically validated offering includes wearable heart monitors (e.g. a mobile cardiac outpatient telemetry patch and extended Holter monitor) that detect and transmit abnormal heart rhythms wirelessly, AI-based data analytics, and services.
With over 30,000 unique
referring physicians per month, BioTelemetry provides services for over one
million patients per year. Additionally, BioTelemetry has a clinical research
business that provides testing services for clinical trials. The total
addressable market is USD 3+ billion, growing high-single-digits driven by an
increasing prevalence of chronic diseases, and the adoption of remote
monitoring and outcome-oriented models.
Acquisition Strengthens Philips’ Cardiac Care Portfolio
The acquisition of BioTelemetry is a strong fit with Philips’ cardiac care portfolio, and its strategy to transform the delivery of care along the health continuum with integrated solutions. The combination of Philips’ leading patient monitoring position in the hospital with BioTelemetry’s leading cardiac diagnostics and monitoring position outside the hospital, will result in a global leader in patient care management solutions for the hospital and the home for cardiac and other patients. Philips’ current portfolio includes real-time patient monitoring, therapeutic devices, telehealth, and informatics. Moreover, Philips has an advanced and secure cloud-based Philips HealthSuite digital platform optimized for the delivery of healthcare across care settings. Every year, Philips’ integrated solutions monitor around 300 million patients in hospitals, as well as around 10 million sleep and respiratory care patients in their own homes.
“The acquisition of BioTelemetry fits perfectly with our strategy to be a leading provider of patient care management solutions for the hospital and the home,” said Frans van Houten, CEO of Royal Philips. “BioTelemetry’s leadership in the large and fast growing ambulatory cardiac diagnostics and monitoring market complements our leading position in the hospital. Leveraging our collective expertise, we will be in an optimal position to improve patient care across care settings for multiple diseases and medical conditions.”
Upon completion of the transaction, BioTelemetry and its
approximately 1,900 employees will become part of Philips’ Connected Care
business segment. The acquisition is projected to be sales growth and adjusted
EBITA margin accretive for Philips in 2021. Philips targets significant
synergies driven by cross-selling opportunities (especially in the U.S.),
geographical expansion, and portfolio innovation synergies, such as Philips’
Health Suite digital platform. Additionally, Philips will drive operational
performance improvements through its proven productivity programs. The
BioTelemetry business is expected to grow double-digits and to improve its
Adjusted EBITA margin to more than 20% by 2025.
– Data analytics and digital health company MDClone
announced a partnership with the Department of Veterans Affairs’ (VA) VHA
Innovation Ecosystem to democratize data and provide better, smarter, faster
healthcare to U.S Veterans.
– By leveraging MDClone’s data platform, the VHA is able to tackle this massive problem by securely accessing, organizing, and analyzing the critical health data of Veterans with the use of synthetic data – a breakthrough method pioneered by MDClone.
a digital health
company, and the VHA Innovation Ecosystem, a division of the United States
Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) today announced a partnership to
democratize data at the Veterans Health Administration (VHA). The partnership
will provide unprecedented, secure access to clinical data to better understand
and improve the health of the more than nine million veterans it serves.
The VHA Innovation Ecosystem aims to empower a wider network of VHA clinical and operational staff to explore data and discover insights that can be used to impact the lives of veterans nationwide. MDClone worked closely on this initiative with Dr. Amanda Purnell, Senior Innovation Fellow at the VHA Innovation Ecosystem, who is part of the Care & Transformational Initiatives (CTI) in the VHA Innovation Ecosystem. This program is specifically focused on testing and refining innovative care models and transformational initiatives that can be meaningfully scaled to impact Veteran care.
Improving Healthcare for Veterans with Synthetic Data
It’s no secret that Veterans have historically had a difficult time adjusting to normal life following service, which leads to many mental health issues that go unnoticed and un-treated – often leading to homelessness and the tragic loss of lives. By leveraging MDClone’s data platform, the VHA is able to tackle this massive problem by securely accessing, organizing, and analyzing the critical health data of Veterans with the use of synthetic data – a breakthrough method pioneered by MDClone. Synthetic data sets are virtually identical to the original patient data, so there’s no identifying information that can be traced back to individual patients. Synthetic data also has the potential to help the VHA collaborate with external agencies, healthcare providers, and the industry.
Non-technical users can quickly ask important questions, find answers, and take action – dramatically shortening timelines for quality improvement, innovation, and grassroots clinical research. The initial collaboration with MDClone will center around suicide prevention, chronic disease management, precision medicine, health equity, and COVID-19. For example, practitioners can tackle issues like suicide by identifying leading indicators and proactively intervening with patients most at risk.
“The VHA has long been at the forefront of healthcare informatics and the use of data to improve patient outcomes and drive operational improvements,” said Ziv Ofek, Founder and CEO, MDClone. “The selection of MDClone’s unique platform builds upon this tradition. With one of the largest medical databases in the world, the VHA requires enterprise-scale tools to explore data, innovate, and improve patient care. MDClone’s dynamic environment will help VA staff deliver on their mission to provide the best healthcare services to Veterans across the U.S.”
The managed care company picked six mental health apps that it made available to its members over the past two years. It recently published a paper showing patients were more likely to download or use digital health tools when referred by a physician.
Tik Tok is unlikely to spring to mind as a source of reliable information about complex issues, but scientists are using it to fly the flag for COVID-19 vaccines and other health topics.
The social media platform, which allows users to share short and often frivolous video clips, has a growing number of experts using it to communicate important information to a broad audience, and particular teenagers and young adults.
One such scientist is Dr Anna Blakney (pictured above left), who is working on the COVID-19 vaccine project underway at Imperial College London in the UK and has attracted an impressive 205,000 followers.
She told the BBC that her approach on TikTok is “come for the entertainment, but stay for the science.” Her videos cover a host of topics from the science behind the immune system, side effects caused by the shots and vaccine hesitancy and the clinical and regulatory path to approval.
Dr Austin Chiang
Another is Dr Austin Chiang, a gastroenterologist and the chief medical social media officer at Jefferson Health in Philadelphia, who said in an interview with the New York Times that covering vaccine-related topics on TikTok can be a minefield.
“When we talk about vaccines as health professionals, people who are vehemently anti-vaccine can take it out of context for their agenda. That makes me hold back sometimes,” said Chiang.
“The approach that I try to take is to leave room for the grey. If you say vaccines don’t cause any harm and are the best things in the world, it can alienate people who are vaccine hesitant. If we instead acknowledge that there are risks just like anything else in medicine and life, it’s a more effective message.”
TikTok itself meanwhile says it has taken steps to make sure its users have access to reliable information about the pandemic, which will be stepped up as immunisation programmes start in the UK, US and elsewhere.
Kevin Morgan, head of product and process, Europe, at the social media firm, notes in a blog post that in January it introduced an in-app notice so that when users searched for hashtags related to the pandemic, they would be provided with easy links to the World Health Organisation’s website and the British Red Cross.
The following month it rolled out an information hub in-app to provide the TikTok community with access to accurate information, which has been viewed 2 billion times since June and will be updated on 17 December with new information on vaccines
“Additionally, we will soon introduce a new vaccine tag to detect and tag all videos with words and hashtags related to the COVID-19 vaccine,” says Morgan.
“We will attach a banner to these videos with the message ‘Learn more about COVID-19 vaccines’,” which will redirect users to “verifiable, authoritative sources of information.”
– Artificial intelligence algorithms can predict outcomes
of COVID-19 patients with mild symptoms in emergency rooms, according to recent
research findings published in Radiology: Artificial Intelligence journal.
– Researchers trained the algorithm from data on 338
positive COVID-19 patients between the ages of 21 and 50 by using diverse
patient data from emergency departments within Mount Sinai Health System
hospitals (The Mount Sinai Hospital in Manhattan, Mount Sinai Queens, and Mount
Sinai Brooklyn) between March 10 and March 26.
Mount Sinai researchers have developed an artificial intelligence algorithm to rapidly predict outcomes of COVID-19 patients in the emergency room based on test and imaging results. Published in the journal, Radiology: Artificial Intelligence, the research reveals that if the AI algorithms were implemented in the clinical setting, hospital doctors can identify patients at high risk of developing severe cases of COVID-19 based on the severity score. This can lead to closer observation and more aggressive and quicker treatment.
They trained the algorithm using electronic medical records (EMRs) of patients between 21 and 50 years old and combined their lab tests and chest X-rays to create this deep learning model. Investigators came up with a severity score to determine who is at the highest risk of intubation or death within 30 days of arriving at the hospital. If applied in a clinical setting, this deep learning model could help emergency room staff better identify which patients may become sicker and lead to closer observation and quicker triage, and could expedite treatment before hospital admission.
Led by Fred Kwon, Ph.D., Biomedical Sciences at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, researchers trained the algorithm from data on 338 positive COVID-19 patients between the ages of 21 and 50 by using diverse patient data from emergency departments within Mount Sinai Health System hospitals (The Mount Sinai Hospital in Manhattan, Mount Sinai Queens, and Mount Sinai Brooklyn) between March 10 and March 26. Data from the emergency room including chest X-rays, bloodwork (basic metabolic panel, complete blood counts), and blood pressure were used to develop a severity score and predict the disease course of COVID-19.
Patients with a higher severity score would require
closer observation. The researchers then tested the algorithm using patient data on other patients in all adult age groups and
ethnicities. The algorithm has an 82 percent sensitivity to predict intubation and death within 30 days of
arriving at the hospital.
Many patients with COVID-19, especially younger ones, may show non-specific symptoms when they arrive at the emergency room, including cough, fever, and
respiratory issues that don’t provide any indication of disease severity. As a
result, clinicians cannot easily identify patients who get worse quickly. This algorithm can provide the probability that a patient may
require intubation before they get worse. That way clinicians can make more accurate decisions for appropriate
Algorithms that predict outcomes of patients with COVID-19 do exist, but they are used in admitted patients who have already developed more severe symptoms and have additional imaging and laboratory
data taken after hospital admission. This algorithm is different since it predicts outcomes in COVID-19 patients while they’re in the emergency room—even in those with mild symptoms. It only uses information from the initial
patient encounter in the hospital emergency department.
“Our algorithm demonstrates that initial imaging and laboratory tests contain sufficient information to predict outcomes of patients with COVID-19. The algorithm can help clinicians anticipate acute worsening (decompensation) of patients, even those who present without any symptoms, to make sure resources are appropriately allocated,” explains Dr. Kwon. “We are working to incorporate this algorithm-generated severity score into the clinical workflow to inform treatment decisions and flag high-risk patients in the future.”
With the US and other major countries poised to begin national
distribution of multiple FDA-approved COVID-19 vaccines, the cybersecurity threats
to secure COVID19
vaccine distribution is imminent. Earlier this month, IBM released a report on malicious cyber actors targeting
the COVID-19 cold chain—an integral part of delivering and storing a vaccine at
Impersonating a biomedical company, cyber actors are sending phishing and spear-phishing emails to executives and global organizations involved in vaccine storage and transport to harvest account credentials. The emails have been posed as requests for quotations for participation in a vaccine program. In the report, IBM urges companies in the COVID-19 supply chain — from research of therapies, healthcare delivery to the distribution of a vaccine — to be vigilant and remain on high alert during this time
We recently sat down with Nigel Thorpe, Technical Director, SecureAge, an enterprise data security and encryption company to talk about the cybersecurity risks involved with COVID-19 vaccine distribution.
HITC: What type of information are hackers trying to
seize to disrupt the vaccine distribution process?
Thorpe: Hackers will try to obtain all the data they can muster, but specifically, they are looking for data around the distribution logistics together with details of the vaccine and its packaging. Using this they could attempt to replicate and profit from a counterfeit vaccine. In addition, cybercriminals are looking for all sorts of personal information about people involved in the vaccine distribution process, plus members of the public, so they can attempt identity theft and phishing attacks.
What are the dangers and implications if foreign actors
weaponize this information?
Thorpe: One of the biggest problems that already exist is an apprehensive public who is concerned with taking the vaccine because of fears that the approval process has been rushed and circumvented. These fears can be exploited by cybercriminals simply through the use of disinformation. In terms of cybersecurity, any attack on the distribution chain feeds into the fear of those already uncertain about the whole program.
In addition, bad actors could launch ransomware and spear-phishing attacks to get into the corporate network. Here, they can steal information concerning the “cold chain” and use this to build an illegal channel for counterfeit vaccine delivery. Not only would this result in unauthorized, unsafe vaccines being distributed but also reinforce fears of vaccines that many Americans already have. Any data, no matter how small or seemingly innocuous, could be used and exploited by cyber attackers.
How can health facilities remain protected?
Thorpe: The most important aspect is to ensure
that data is encrypted at all times so even if it is stolen, hackers won’t be
able to access this scrambled information. In addition, organizations should
make sure that unauthorized processes don’t run. This can be done by blocking
any application that attempts to execute, but which is not on an authorized
list. These measures will stop the problems of both phishing messages and data
theft – even by insiders.
What other information do you think hackers will target
in the future as we head into 2021?
Thorpe: Outside of exploiting the vaccine distribution network, hackers will attempt to capitalize on the continued remote working situation that is likely to last for most of 2021. Cybercriminals will try to exploit a situation where workers are not all using secure devices, resulting in data being stolen and exploited by bad actors.
In addition, we can expect combination attacks, where
something technical and something human will be combined in ways that the
confines and physical security of office spaces would have prevented. Notices
sent by mail to homes, phone calls, and possibly even personal visits by repair
technicians will be facilitated through stolen information and credentials
online, upping the ante of the scams and other illegal shenanigans.
Apps that patients can use to report symptoms and seek advice on treatment are highly variable in their accuracy, but some come close to matching GPs, says a new study.
The peer-reviewed study – published in the journal BMJ Open – compared eight of the most popular symptom assessment apps to a control group of seven GPs against a series of 200 primary care scenarios or “vignettes” designed to mimic real-world patient experiences and gleaned from the NHS 111 telephone triage service.
The apps – Ada, Babylon, Buoy, K Health, Mediktor, Symptomate, WebMD, and Your.MD – were put through their paces against three criteria, namely the breadth of content covered, and the accuracy and safety of advice given compared to a GP consultation.
The researchers from Brown University in the US and German digital health company Ada Health – which developed the Ada app – suggests there are wide differences between the apps on all these measures which raise questions about whether some are fit for purpose in clinical settings.
The paper found that coverage of the conditions in the vignettes ranged from 51.5% with Babylon to 99% with Ada, with an average overall of 69.5%, while GPs provided 100% coverage.
Those at the bottom of the coverage list were not able to suggest conditions for significant numbers of cases, including scenarios involving children, patients with a mental health condition, or pregnancy, according to the German company.
Ada was also rated as the most accurate for accuracy, suggesting the right condition in its top three suggestions 71% of the time while the average across all the other apps was just 38%, indicating that they didn’t identify the correct condition in the majority of cases. Once again, GPs were top with 82% accuracy.
On the final measure, most apps gave safe advice most of the time, but only three approached the 97% rating for doctors. Among these, Ada came top again at 97%, followed by Babylon at 95% and Buoy at 80%.
It’s worth pointing out that some of the apps that fared less well – including Buoy, K Health and WebMD – were designed for the US market, so may have been penalised by the use of NHS-derived vignettes.
Noting that symptom assessment apps are now used by tens of millions of patients annually in the US and UK alone, Dr Hamish Fraser of Brown’s Centre for Biomedical Informatic said the study is an important indicator of how valuable they are.
“Compared to a similar study from five years ago, this larger and more rigorous study shows improved performance with results closer to those of physicians,” according to Fraser. “It also demonstrates the importance of knowing when apps cannot handle certain conditions.”
The results could also be used to determine which of the apps are ready for clinical testing in observational studies and then randomised controlled trials, he added.
– Microsoft launches a COVID-19 vaccine management platform with partners Accenture and Avanade, EY, and Mazik Global to help government and healthcare customers provide fair and equitable vaccine distribution, administration, and monitoring of vaccine delivery.
– Microsoft Consulting Services (MCS) has deployed
over 230 emergency COVID-19 response missions globally since the pandemic began
in March, including recent engagements to ensure the equitable, secure and
efficient distribution of the COVID-19 vaccine.
With COVID-19 vaccines soon to be available, Microsoft
announced it has launched a COVID-19 vaccine management platform together with
industry partners Accenture, Avandae, EY, and Mazik Global. The COVID-19
vaccine management solutions will enable registration capabilities for patients
and providers, phased scheduling for vaccinations, streamlined reporting, and
management dashboarding with analytics and forecasting.
These offerings are helping public health agencies and
healthcare providers to deliver the COVID-19 vaccine to individuals in an
efficient, equitable and safe manner. The underlying technologies and approach
have been tested and deployed with prior COVID-19 use cases, including contact
tracing, COVID-19 testing, and return to work and return to school programs.
To date, Microsoft
Consulting Services (MCS) has deployed over 230 emergency COVID-19
response missions globally since the pandemic began in March, including recent
engagements to ensure the equitable, secure and efficient distribution of the
COVID-19 vaccine. MCS has developed an offering, the Vaccination Registration
and Administration Solution (VRAS), which advances the capabilities of their
COVID-19 solution portfolio and enables compliant administration of resident
assessment, registration and phased scheduling for vaccine distribution.
Key features of the solutions include:
– tracking and reporting of immunization progress through
secure data exchange that utilizes industry standards, such as Health Level
Seven (HL7), Fast Healthcare Interoperability Resources (FHIR) and open APIs.
– health providers and pharmacies can monitor and report on
the effectiveness of specific vaccine batches, and health administrators can
easily summarize the achievement of vaccine deployment goals in large
Microsoft partners have leveraged the Microsoft cloud to
provide customers with additional offerings to support vaccine management.
These offerings also apply APIs, HL7 and FHIR to enable interoperability and
integration with existing systems of record, artificial intelligence to
generate accurate and geo-specific predictive analytics, and secure
communications using Microsoft Teams.
–EY has partnered with Microsoft for the EY Vaccine
Management Solution to enable patient-provider engagement, supply chain
visibility, and Internet of Things (IoT) real-time monitoring of the vaccines.
Additionally, the EY Vaccine Analytics Solution is an integrated COVID-19 data
and analytics tool supporting stakeholders in understanding population and
geography-specific vaccine uptake.
Mazik Global has created the MazikCare Vaccine Flow that is built on Power Apps and utilizes
pre-built templates to implement scalable solutions to accelerate the mass
distribution of the COVID-19 vaccine. Providers will be able to seek out
specific populations based on at-risk criteria to prioritize distribution.
Patients can self-monitor and have peace of mind to head-off adverse reactions.
– The digital diabetes market is on track to reach $1.5
billion dollars by 2024, according to a new report by Research2Guidance.
– The confident growth of digital diabetes care will be driven by the growth of the global addressable market for digital diabetes services. Between 2019 and 2024, the number of diagnosed diabetics with access to smart devices is set to increase from 109 million to 180 million.
– Digital diabetes solutions have disrupted the diabetes
care market and are changing overall chronic care, targeting not only diabetes
but also its various comorbidities, such as obesity, hypertension, and
– The report, The
Global Digital Diabetes Care Market 2020: Going Beyond Diabetes Management focuses on the continued expansion of
digital diabetes providers into other chronic conditions (vertical expansion)
and new service opportunities (horizontal expansion), highlighting the market’s
strategic direction in the next few years. This expansion will create new
revenue opportunities, improve payer acceptance, and grow user bases beyond the
diagnosed diabetes audience.
– In the report, the Top 10 market players LifeScan Inc., Ascensia Diabetes Care, Informed Data Systems (One Drop), mySugr (Roche), H2 Inc., Livongo Health, Omada Health, Abbott, Dexcom, and Dario Health are profiled with their offerings, mobile app portfolio performance, and strategy analysis, as well as Top 10 country profiles (market opportunity size, number of solutions, downloads, number of users, Top 5 players).
After a banner year for digital health, characterized by record adoption and investment, what will come next? Partners with Boston Consulting Group’s Digital Ventures shared their predictions for 2021.
The pharma industry has been making great strides forward in digital health, but one element of that – gamification – hasn’t yet made much headway in the sector. Armed with new data from a randomised clinical trial, one company is hoping to change that mindset.
The company is FriendsLearn – based in India and with an R&D office in San Francisco – which recently reported results from a trial showing that its fooya! app was able to induce healthy food and lifestyle habits among a group of 104 children aged 10 to 11.
FriendsLearn hopes that use of gaming apps like fooya! could help to curb rising levels of childhood obesity among children, using neuroscience, artificial intelligence and virtual reality to improve dietary choices, physical activity and health literacy.
Bhargav Sri Prakash
The company’s founder and chief executive Bhargav Sri Prakash told pharmaphorum that the clinical study, published in the journal JMIR mHealth and uHealth, showed that just 20 minutes of gaming time a week had a strong positive impact on children’s food choices when polled immediately following the game.
“Our methods of gamified neuro-cognitive training have been designed and built to stimulate the brain of children in specific ways, through patterns of messaging and exposure to visual, auditory, and tactile stimuli,” he said.
“This trial validates effective transference of our neuro-modulation methods to behavioural outcomes, while validating the appropriate level of dose exposure.”
In fooya!, an avatar fights against robots that represent unhealthy/bad foods, with the aim of maintaining a good body shape for the avatar and earning enough coins to win the level and unlock the next stage. Avatars perform better if they eat healthy foods and move a lot, and are slower and heavier as they consume more calories.
Sri Prakash describes FriendsLearn’s approach as administering a “digital vaccine” that along with changing habits could induce an immune response through biological pathways of the gut-brain axis – a two-way communication channel linking emotional and cognitive centres of the brain with peripheral intestinal functions.
The company is continuing to evaluate fooya! to generate real world evidence about its effects, as well as to monitor for any side effects, with the help of collaborators at Carnegie Mellon, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, and Stanford University in the US, as well as the National University of Singapore.
Meanwhile, its turning its attention to other apps, notably fooya!D aimed at people living with diabetes, which is undergoing clinical testing in the US and India.
“fooya!D is designed to cater to paediatric diabetes populations, to assist them with self-care through better adherence to clinically prescribed diet and lifestyle, as well as in regulating their glycaemic levels through the appropriate use of insulin,” said Sri Prakash.
Also in the pipeline is a pair of apps – dubbed FYA-003 and FYA-004, respectively – that are intended to help people prevent infection with SARS-CoV-2 and influenza viruses, for example by encouraging hand washing, disinfecting surfaces, social distancing, etc.
While the data is starting to emerge on gaming apps for health, there is still a disconnect between the two sectors that is preventing more widespread adoption, according to Sri Prakash.
“There has not been visible precedent for commercially successful companies that have defended the viability of this space at the intersection of these disparate industries,” he said.
He warned that pharma risks being left behind in the area of gamification, allowing itself to be superseded by other players through a reluctance to back the approach with any deep conviction.
A high level of commitment would be required to take on the high standards for consumer-level engagement that is being set by big-budget productions by studio, as well as “deep skills in design and analytics-based iteration.”
At the same time, healthcare companies meanwhile have a whole different set of issues to contend with – clinical trials, patient data, regulatory pathways, physician buy-in, and reimbursement models – which are alien to the gaming sector. And added to that, sources of risk capital to fuel innovation have also existed in silos of expertise.
“While the opportunity to build evidence-based healthcare solutions with game-like engagement and sophistication, is abundantly clear, the cost of this multidimensional innovation is high,” said Sri Prakash.
“The opportunity is vast and investors that have the appetite for category creation are beginning to see the potential, especially given the momentum for digital health.”
The 3rd generation pharmaceuticals- Digital therapeutics- have become a much-discussed aspect of MedTech today, as they compete with established drug-based pharmaceutical and biotech products to become therapeutic interventions for many acute and chronic diseases. Currently, many small- and mid-size companies are working to develop, manufacture and launch their software-based therapeutic interventions, while we are observing a significant growth of acquisitions, licensing deals, and collaborations among the big-pharma players, all vying to have a niche in this arena.
As the digital aspect merges across the healthcare ecosystem, digital therapeutics are expected to influence healthcare delivery across the world. Unlike traditional prescription drugs rather than swallowing a pill or taking an injection, patients are treated with software.
Recent years witnessed Digital therapeutics as an emerging alternative to traditional medicine for mental health and addiction treatment. According to the WHO, more than 250 million people suffer from depression and mental health-related problems every day and it is the leading cause of disability and suicides. Although there are reasonably effective treatments for depression available such as the antidepressants, there aren’t enough healthcare resources to treat the growing number of people with depression.
Digital therapeutics utilize digital solutions to change patient behavior and lifestyle, usually with the help of a smartphone and are delivered through an app. Some digital therapeutic products have been successfully used to treat many chronic diseases like type II diabetes, obesity, and depression. With the help of digital therapeutics, healthcare professionals can easily connect with the patient on an online platform and enable personalized and real-time treatment methods.
There are several companies involved in digital therapeutic development, one notable of them being Pear Therapeutics. Pear’s lead product, reSET, is a promising candidate for the treatment of Substance Use Disorder, and was the first DTx to receive authorization from FDA to improve disease outcomes. Pear’s other product, reSET-O for the treatment of Opioid Use Disorder, was the first to receive Breakthrough Designation and was authorized in December 2018. Being FDA approved, these tools are prescribed as cognitive behavioral therapy as an adjunct to outpatient treatment under the supervision of a clinician. Reset-O is also intended to be used in conjunction with pharmacotherapy. Pear’s third product, Somryst for the treatment of chronic insomnia, was the first product submitted through FDA’s traditional 510(k) pathway while simultaneously reviewed through FDA’s Software Precertification Pilot Program and was authorized in March 2020.
Another company active in this space is Akili Therapeutics, which is working to create a niche for themselves by applying gaming principles in healthcare to improve patient clinical outcomes. In June 2020, the FDA permitted the marketing of Akili Interactive Labs, Inc. product EndeavorRx, the first Game-based Digital Therapeutics to improve attention function in children with ADHD.
As the field of Digital Therapeutics is growing, collaborations between digital therapeutic companies, technology and service providers, pharmaceutical manufacturers, academic institutions, and provider groups can lead to the creation of local, regional, and national roadmaps to better operationalize and commercialize digital therapeutics.
– Cerner Corporation today announced with Xealth new
centralized digital ordering and monitoring for health systems, starting with
Banner Health, to foster digital innovation.
– Health systems can prescribe digital therapeutics, smartphones, and internet apps directly within the EHR to address areas such as chronic disease management, behavioral health, maternity care, and surgery prep.
Cerner, today announced it’s building on the recent collaboration with Xealth to offer health systems new centralized digital ordering and monitoring for clients. These capabilities are designed to help health systems choose, manage, and deploy digital tools and applications while offering clinicians access to remote monitoring and more direct engagement with patients. Phoenix-based Banner Health, one of the country’s largest nonprofit hospital systems, is one of the first Cerner clients to use the new capabilities to benefit its clinicians and patients.
Prescribe Digital Therapeutics Via EHR
With the new capabilities, health systems can prescribe digital therapeutics, smartphones, and internet applications to address areas such as chronic disease management, behavioral health, maternity care, and surgery prep. This access to a more holistic view of the organization’s digital health solutions supports the clinical decisions doctors make every day and provides real opportunities to improve medical outcomes and enhance efficiency, meet the increasing demand for telehealth and offer remote patient monitoring.
For example, the new capabilities can help simplify how
clinicians prescribe tools such as mobile mental health apps to monitor anxiety
triggers or a glucose device to help trace blood sugar levels for diabetes
Digital solutions will be available in a single location in
the electronic health record where health systems can use apps based on
clinical and financial metrics. A wide array of digital health tools is
integrated with Xealth’s offering today and the list is ever-growing. Early
examples of companies that have previously deployed in health systems using
Xealth include Babyscripts, Glooko, SilverCloud Health, Welldoc, as well as
Healthwise Inc., GetWellNetwork and ResMed that have existing relationships
“As digital tools are increasingly included in care plans, health systems seek a way to organize and oversee their use across the health system. We anticipate the emergence of digital and therapeutic committees to govern digital tool selection similar to how pharmacy and therapeutic committees have historically governed medication formularies,” said David Bradshaw, senior vice president, Consumer and Employer Solutions, Cerner. “Digital health has extraordinary potential to reshape the way we care for patients and, working with Xealth, we are answering the need and helping providers create more engaging and effective patient experiences.”
Why It Matters
Digital health has great potential to make an immediate difference, especially as it relates to automating patient education, delivering virtual care, supporting telehealth, and offering remote patient monitoring. Health systems with a digital health program and strategy in place have the ability to respond faster and more efficiently.
“Now, more than ever, extending care teams to meet patients where they are is critical,” said Mike McSherry, CEO and co-founder, Xealth. “As digital health programs roll out, they should elevate both the patient and provider experience. Cerner building out a digital formulary, with Xealth at its core, is listening to its strong clinician base by delivering tools to enhance patient care, without adding additional steps for the care team.”
– LA-based Scanwell Health announced today that its at-home UTI test kits – featuring the first FDA-cleared urinalysis app that lets people test for a UTI without having to visit a lab or doctor – is now available on Amazon.com.
– The kits are priced at 3 for $15. Happy to send a graphic or answer any questions you have. Until now, the kits have been available only directly through the Scanwell Health web site.
– Scanwell enables clinical-grade testing, instant results, and professional guidance for comprehensive healthcare from the safety of your home. Once people have their Scanwell test results (which takes two minutes), they can receive a prescription by connecting directly to telehealth providers via their smartphone for treatment. The whole process can take place from the safety of their home and they do not have to visit a doctor’s office.
– The company is also working on tests for chronic kidney disease, malaria, and the virus that causes COVID-19.
– Virtual maternity care platform Babyscripts announced a
new round of investments from Banner Health, CU Healthcare Innovation Fund, The
Froedtert & Medical College of Wisconsin Health Network, and WellSpan
– Using internet-connected devices for remote monitoring,
Babyscripts offers risk-specific experiences to allow providers to manage up to
90% of pregnancies virtually, allowing doctors to detect risk more quickly and
automate elements of care.
the leading virtual care
platform for managing obstetrics, today announced a new round of
investments through their Strategic Partners Program,
a unique investment bloc composed of health systems interested in
forwarding Babyscripts’ cutting-edge digital solutions for pregnant
populations. Partners include Phoenix-based Banner Health, one of the largest
nonprofit health care systems in the country; the CU Healthcare Innovation Fund, located on
the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus in Aurora, Colorado; the Froedtert & the Medical College of
Wisconsin health network, an integrated health care system based in
Wisconsin; and WellSpan Health, an
integrated health system serving central Pennsylvania and northern
This investment round is structured to leverage the input
and support of clinical and health system partners, ensuring that Babyscripts’
product development and future roadmap aligns with customer needs.
Babyscripts has spent the last six years building a
clinically-validated, virtual care platform to allow OBGYNs to deliver a new
model of prenatal care. Using internet-connected devices for remote monitoring,
Babyscripts offers risk-specific experiences to allow providers to manage up to
90% of pregnancies virtually, allowing doctors to detect risk more quickly and
automate elements of care.
3-Tier Approach Virtual Maternity Care
Babyscripts’ three-tiered approach to virtual maternity care
allows providers to deliver risk-specific care to pregnant mothers at any time,
in any place, through a mobile app and internet-connected monitoring devices:
Maternal Digital Education: Virtually connect with expectant and new mothers between visits with a custom mobile app.
Maternal Health Monitoring: Virtual management of
pregnant patients through remote monitoring for blood pressure, weight, blood
sugar, social determinants of health (SDOH)
Maternal Population Health: Improve patient/member
care through a unique collaboration between the care team and the payer.
The solution is powered by a robust set of vetted user
experiences, integrations, workflows, and best practices.
“From the beginning, we’ve set ourselves apart from other tech companies by partnering with physicians to make sure that we’re developing solutions that will actually be useful and improve outcomes, not just look and feel ‘cutting-edge’,” said Juan Pablo Segura, co-founder and President of Babyscripts. “This investment is validation that health systems see the value of our solution — and they’re willing to put their money on it.
– Google announces the launch of its Google Health
Studies App with the first study focused on respiratory illness in partnership
with Harvard Medical School & Boston Children’s Hospital.
– Google Health Studies aims to create opportunities for
more people to participate in health research. By contributing, you’ll
represent your community and start improving the future of health for everyone.
To make it easier for leading research institutions to
connect with potential study participants, Google has announced the launch of
the Google Health Studies app with the first study focused
on respiratory illness. The app allows anyone with an Android phone to participate
in health studies by answering survey questions and contributing relevant data.
Google Health Studies provides a platform for researchers to reach a large and
diverse population so they can better understand human health, while providing
the public with greater opportunities to contribute to medical research.
Help Scientists Better Understand Respiratory Diseases
For the first study, Google has partnered with researchers
from Harvard Medical School and Boston Children’s Hospital, which will help
scientists and public health communities better understand respiratory
illnesses, including influenza and COVID-19. The study utilizes federated learning and analytics—a privacy technology that
keeps a person’s data stored on the device, while allowing researchers to
discover aggregate insights based on encrypted, combined updates from many
devices. The technology examine trends
to understand the link between mobility (such as the number of daily trips a
person makes outside the home) and the spread of COVID-19, This same
approach powers typing predictions on Gboard, without Google seeing
what individuals type.
Help Researchers Make Advancements in Medicine and Healthcare
Respiratory Health Study is open to adults in the U.S. and
will focus on identifying how types of respiratory illnesses evolve in
communities and differ across risk factors such as age, and activities such as
travel. Study participants will use the Google Health Studies app to regularly
self-report how they feel, what symptoms they may be experiencing, any
preventative measures they’ve taken, and additional information such as
COVID-19 or influenza test results. By taking part in this study, volunteers
can represent their community in medical research, and contribute to global
efforts to combat the COVID-19 pandemic.
“With COVID-19 emerging alongside seasonal respiratory pathogens, research is now needed more than ever to develop more effective treatments and mitigation strategies,” says Dr. John Brownstein, professor at Harvard Medical School and Chief Innovation Officer of Boston Children’s Hospital. “Google Health Studies provides people with a secure and easy way to take part in medical research, while letting researchers discover novel epidemiological insights into respiratory diseases.”
– Lightspeed Venture Partners, the VC behind Nest and GrubHub, is leading a $10 million round for Freespira, an FDA-cleared digital therapeutic proven to significantly reduce or eliminate panic attacks and PTSD symptoms by training users to normalize respiratory irregularities.
– In 28 days, Freespira can reduce or eliminate panic
attacks and PTSD symptoms from home with just a tablet, sensor, and custom app.
There’s no medicine with possible side effects and no need to see a doctor or
therapist in person.
Palo Alto Health Sciences, Inc.), a Kirkland, WA-based maker of the first
FDA-cleared digital therapeutic that significantly reduces or eliminates
symptoms of panic attacks, panic disorder and post-traumatic stress disorder
(PTSD) in only 28 days, announced it has completed a $10 million capital raise led
by Lightspeed Venture Partners. Joining
the financing round, the largest in the company’s history, were previous
investors Aphelion Capital, Medvest Capital, and Freespira Chairman,
Free from Panic Attacks & PTSD in 28 Days
Founded in 2013, Freespira® is the only FDA-cleared digital therapeutic proven
to significantly reduce or eliminate Panic Disorder and PTSD symptoms by
training users to normalize respiratory irregularities in just 28 days. This
4-week medication-free program can be done from the comfort of your home for 17
minutes, twice daily. Treatment is authorized and completed under the
supervision of a licensed healthcare provider and is clinically proven to
reduce or eliminate panic attacks and other symptoms of panic disorder. Freespira
uses a custom sensor to train patients to stabilize their respiration rate and
exhaled carbon dioxide levels, thereby reducing or eliminating panic attacks
and PTSD symptoms.
Recent Peer-Reviewed Studies
Numerous peer-reviewed studies have demonstrated the
clinical effectiveness and cost savings of the Freespira solution, including:
– A clinical trial conducted at the VA Palo Alto Health Care
System in Palo Alto, Calif. demonstrated the efficacy of Freespira for veterans
and non-veterans suffering from PTSD. Significant reductions in measures of
PTSD severity were achieved by 85% of subjects post-treatment, with half of
subjects reporting remission scores six months post-treatment. Patient
satisfaction was 84% at six months post-treatment, and mean patient adherence
to the treatment protocol was 77%.
– A large multi-center trial conducted by David Tolin, PhD,
Director of the Anxiety Disorders Center at The Institute of Living, and Adjunct
Professor of Psychiatry at Yale University School of Medicine, found that
Freespira produced a clinically significant reduction in panic symptoms 12
months post-treatment in 82% of subjects, with 84% adherence and 88% patient
– A study led by Alicia Kaplan, MD at the Allegheny Health
Network in Pittsburgh found that use of Freespira not only resulted in 91% of
patients reporting significant reduction in symptoms at 12-months but also
significant cost savings for the patients’ insurance provider, Highmark Blue
Cross Blue Shield. These included a 65% reduction in emergency department
costs; a 68% reduction in pharmacy costs; and a 35% reduction in total medical
costs for treatment of the study subjects.
“We’re honored that Lightspeed, one of Silicon Valley’s premier venture firms, has joined our existing investors to help speed the commercialization of Freespira to benefit the millions of people who suffer from panic attacks and PTSD, including veterans, first responders, and increasingly, frontline healthcare workers,” said Dean Sawyer, Chief Executive Officer of Freespira. “Now that we have accumulated overwhelming evidence of the clinical and cost effectiveness of Freespira and achieved FDA clearance for its use treating both panic disorder and PTSD, we believe health plans and employers across the country will support the use of Freespira for their members and employees.”
– San Francisco-based digital health startup Pair Team
emerges out of stealth with $2.7M in seed funding backed by Kleiner Perkins,
Craft Ventures, & YC.
– Pair Team provides both a remote team and AI that automates workflows, provides infrastructure & improves medical practices — efficiencies and billing as you’d expect, but all driving toward value-based, quality patient care.
– Pair’s wrap-around technology tripled the rate of annual wellness visits and increased revenue by 15% for clinics in 2020.
Pair Team (“Pair”) announced today it has
emerged out of stealth and has raised $2.7 million in seed funding backed by Kleiner Perkins, Craft Ventures, and YCombinator, along with other prominent
funds. Pair is an end-to-end operations platform for value-based primary care,
backed by Pair’s own care team. For patients, Pair provides a digital front door
and helps them navigate healthcare.
Automate Primary Care Operations Infrastructure
Founded in 2019 by Neil Batlivala and Cassie Choi, RN after experiencing how critical a high functioning administrative team is to provide high-quality primary care by building out operations together at leading tech-enabled practices of Forward and Circle Medical. The majority of healthcare is local and fragmented, and no solutions were built to enable existing clinics. Pair came out of that need and provides a simple yet comprehensive solution that covers the front, mid, and back-office. Their automation, along with a human-in-the-loop approach provides end-to-end operations of patient outreach, scheduling, e-forms, care gap reports, record requests, referrals, lab coordination, etc., to offload the traditional job functions of the front desk and medical assistants.
“Primary care is systematically and chronically under-resourced. Pair ensures patients receive the very best practices in health care — from annual checkups, follow-ups after hospital discharge, and preventative care screenings,” commented Neil Batlivala, CEO and co-founder of Pair Team. “We not only monitor patient data, but we go further to operationalize it with automation and our care team.”
Pair provides a revenue-sharing model to the share cost of operations with primary care providers. The platform monitors health plan and system data to trigger automated workflows that engage patients to schedule clinically impactful visits, surface care recommendations to clinicians, and manage follow-up care coordination. Their bolt-on model allows them to work as an extension of your care team within existing processes and accelerate quality programs in days, not months. For practices, this drastically improves care quality and visit efficiency. For plans, this aligns day-to-day operations with a total cost of care.
Helping Medicaid Populations Navigate Their Healthcare
Pair helps Medicaid populations navigate their healthcare with follow-ups, preventive cancer screening, and those recommendations on current (and ever-changing) Medicaid requirements. The company starts with existing processes and accelerates quality programs in days, not months.
Despite COVID and patient’s avoidance of medical offices and care, Pair’s wrap-around operations technology and care team tripled the rate of preventative care visits and are on track to increase clinical revenue by 15% by end of the year through quality incentives alone. To date, Pair manages care for thousands of Medicaid patients in southern California and has closed hundreds of care gaps with their remote care team.
– Pear Therapeutics today announced that it has
successfully closed an $80 million Series D financing led by SoftBank Vision
– Pear is the
leader in prescription digital therapeutics and the first company to receive
FDA authorization for a prescription digital therapeutic (PDT) to treat
– Pear currently has three FDA authorized therapies, reSET, reSET-O and Somryst, for substance use disorder, opioid use disorder, and chronic insomnia, respectively.
Inc., (“Pear” or the “Company”) today announced that it has successfully
closed an $80 million Series D financing led by SoftBank Vision Fund 21 with
participation from existing investors including Temasek, 5AM Ventures,
Arboretum Ventures, JAZZ Venture Partners, Novartis, CrimsoNox, and EDBI, and
new investors, Forth Management, Pilot House, Sarissa Capital, Shanda Group,
and QUAD Investment Management.
What are PDTs?
PDTs are a new therapeutic class that uses software to treat
disease. Just like traditional medicines, prescription digital therapeutics are
prescribed by a physician and backed by clinical data that has been validated
by the FDA. As a new method of care, they offer patients a wide variety of
benefits, including: increased access to therapies, improved engagement and
adherence compared to face-to-face therapies.
Pear’s FDA Authorized Products
Pear’s products reSET®
and reSET-O® for the treatment
of substance use disorder and opioid use disorder, respectively, are the first
two PDTs to receive market authorization to treat disease from FDA. Pear
recently launched Somryst,
for the treatment of chronic insomnia, its third FDA-authorized PDT and the
third PDT to receive market authorization from FDA. Pear also recently launched
its end-to-end virtual care experience combining virtual doctor visit(s) via
telemedicine provider with PearConnect, the industry’s first patient service
center for PDTs.
The Company’s three FDA-authorized products address large
market opportunities with more than 20 million patients suffering from
substance and opioid use disorders and more than 30 million from chronic
insomnia, in the U.S. alone. These diseases are on the rise as the pandemic has
exacerbated the country’s mental health crises.
Pear plans to use the latest round of funding to accelerate
reimbursement coverage for its three commercial products, creating the first
market access pathway in the PDT industry. The Company collaborates with
innovators to build a broad and deep pipeline that has the potential to
redefine standard of care in a range of therapeutic areas, including specialty
psychiatry, specialty neurology, and a host of other non-CNS diseases. Pear has
built the first scalable platform infrastructure to discover, develop, and
deliver PDTs to patients.
“Pear is pleased to welcome our new investors and our new board members. SoftBank Investment Advisers represents an ideal partner to support Pear as we build the digital therapeutics industry,” said Corey McCann, M.D., Ph.D., President and CEO of Pear Therapeutics. “This oversubscribed round of funding will allow us to continue to invest in the launches of our three commercial products to accelerate revenue growth, which we intend to reinvest in our robust pipeline and platform.”
– Ro announced it has acquired Workpath, a technology
platform that powers on-demand, in-home healthcare and diagnostics services
– Through this acquisition, Ro’s platform will now
uniquely bring together a patient’s doctor, pharmacy, and
diagnostics/lab–offering a personalized, end-to-end experience with no
– Ro is also announcing a partnership with Quest
Diagnostics, which operates more than 2,200 locations nationwide, to process
its lab tests.
Ro, the healthcare technologycompany, today announced it has acquiredWorkpath, a software platform that enables healthcare companies to offer on-demand, in-home care, and diagnostic services with a simple API. The acquisition will enable Ro to seamlessly integrate virtual and in-person care on its own platform and offer these in-home capabilities to other healthcare companies. The ability to send healthcare professionals to, and conduct diagnostic tests in, a patient’s home significantly expands the scope of Ro’s vertically-integrated platform and advances the company’s strategy of becoming a patient’s first call for all of their healthcare needs.
End-to-End In-Home Care Solution
Founded in 2015, Workpath is a technology platform that powers on-demand, in-home healthcare services nationwide. Workpath’s API enables healthcare companies to dispatch phlebotomists and other providers to perform services ranging from blood draws to vaccinations, all from the comfort of a patient’s home. The company’s full-service platform includes scheduling and dispatch software, a nationwide network of healthcare professionals, diagnostic processing and reporting, and more. Workpath is available to 95% of patients across the country and facilitates in-home healthcare services for clinical trial operators, Fortune 100 companies, and the nation’s largest diagnostic laboratories.
Acquisition Creates A New Paradigm for
As part of the acquisition, Workpath will
continue to operate independently as an autonomous entity. Workpath and its API
will continue to be available to other healthcare companies, enabling them to
dispatch healthcare professionals to perform services ranging from blood draws
to vaccinations and other primary care services, all from the comfort of a
patient’s home. The company’s full-service platform includes scheduling and
dispatch software, a nationwide network of healthcare providers, diagnostic
processing and reporting, and more. Ro’s offering of Workpath’s platform will
position the combined company as an integral part of the healthcare industry’s
transition to connect the best of virtual and in-person care.
Enabling End-to-End Care
Ro-affiliated providers will leverage Workpath’s
API to order in-home care or diagnostic services for patients, greatly
expanding the scope of conditions that can be treated or managed through Ro’s
platform. In doing so, Ro will seamlessly connect a patient’s doctor, pharmacy,
and lab on its vertically-integrated platform, enabling end-to-end care from
diagnosis to the delivery of medication to ongoing care. Given that seven of
every ten healthcare decisions require blood work, Ro will start by offering in-home
phlebotomy (blood test) services with results directly delivered through Ro’s
Zachariah Reitano, Co-Founder and CEO of Ro, said: “Ten years from now, more healthcare services will be delivered online or in-home than in every hospital, doctors office, or pharmacy combined, and this acquisition will help accelerate that change. The powerful new platform we’re creating enables Ro, and countless other healthcare companies, to deliver care whenever and wherever patients need it. We look forward to welcoming Workpath to the Ro family and together setting a new standard for vertically integrated healthcare delivery.”
Financial details of the acquisition were not disclosed.
Digital health startup Kleva Health launches FDA authorized saliva at-home
COVID-19 test kit and raises $1.5 million in seed funding.
Kleva Health’s At-Home COVID-19 Saliva Test Kit will be available for orders on
its website, klevahealth.com, and will retail for US$149. Test results will be
reported on klevahealth.com and available within 48 hours after the test has
arrived at the lab.
Kleva Health, a San Francisco, CA-based digital health company, today announced the availability of its FDA Authorized at-home COVID-19 testing kits to offer Americans the choice to self-administer COVID-19 tests. In addition to the launch of at-home COVID-19 test kits, the company is also announcing $1.8M in seed funding from VCs including IMO Ventures, Human Longevity, and Performance Impact Venture Fund and Zenni Optical.
At-Home COVID-19 Saliva Test Kit
Kleva Health’s At-Home COVID-19 Saliva Test Kit uniquely
includes a Kleva Health saliva DNA/RNA collection device. This enables Kleva
Health to rapidly scale up its supply, without being dependent on distributors.
But a saliva test also enables the company to offer the ability to test for a
wider assortment of diseases and viruses – not just COVID-19.
Kleva Health’s At-Home COVID-19 Saliva Test Kit will be
available for orders on its website, klevahealth.com, and will retail for US$149. Test results
will be reported on klevahealth.com
and available within 48 hours after the test has arrived at the lab.
Kleva Health Background
Kleva Health is founded by Harvard Business School
classmates and medical industry executives, David Yu, Bernie Siu and Kai Lim.
But the company started following a familiar story. Bernie Siu (Kleva Health’s
Chief Medical Officer and Doctor of Medicine from Stanford University’s School
of Medicine) had fallen ill from contract COVID-19 but discovered that getting
access to testing solutions ahead of his family reunion was easier said than
done. Not qualified for immediate testing at the time, Bernie believed that
there had to be a better solution. But he’s not alone. As many as 55.1% of
people do not know that at-home COVID-19 testing is an option for Americans,
according to the survey.
Responding to the New Normal
Fortunately, Kleva Health’s launch comes at an opportune
time. 55.4% of Americans are prepared for COVID-19 to be around longer than one
year. An additional 31.7% believe that COVID-19 will be around until a vaccine
is available. Not surprisingly, respondents overwhelmingly believe that
COVID-19 has made them realize the need for maintaining healthy habits,
including regular testing. As a digital health tracking company, Kleva Health
encourages healthy habits by offering Americans the convenience of at-home
tests, amid this new normal, and an online platform for keeping track of their
“With COVID-19, many of us have a heightened awareness for not only our personal well-being, but also for those family members and friends around us. As the holidays are fast approaching, Kleva Health’s FDA authorized saliva-based COVID-19 self-testing kit, offers Americans the convenience and assurance that they can spend time with loved ones with peace of mind,” said David Yu, CEO and co-founder of Kleva Health. “But this product and the Kleva platform is just the start for us. Supported by our investors including IMO Ventures and the Human Longevity Fund, we plan to scale and introduce additional products that will make biomedical testing as easy and common as brushing one’s teeth.”
Kleva Health will introduce in January 2021 a patent-pending and FDA authorized
next-generation COVID-19 saliva rapid testing kit that enables Americans to
self-test for the virus at home and read the results in just minutes.
Tom Stanis, Verily’s co-founder and former head of software, left the Alphabet subsidiary in February to found a new healthcare startup. Called Story Health, his new startup is focused on providing care in the gaps between specialty visits.
Wolters Kluwer, Health launches new Alexa skill, Emmi Care Plan to keep patients
engaged with their care team at home following discharge from the hospital.
–Using a natural dialogue that automatically adjusts to patient responses, customers can engage with the skill on Alexa-enabled devices simply by saying, “Alexa, ask Emmi Care Plan” to complete periodic health assessments, reminders, and additional education.
To keep health consumers engaged with their providers
while recovering at home, Wolters Kluwer, Health is
launching Emmi® Care Plan, a new Alexa healthcare skill that
restores the patient-provider dialogue after discharge simply by using the
Every day, patients who are discharged from hospitals return
home to face the often-daunting journey of a successful recovery. For their
care providers, the stream of valuable patient information essential for
quality care decreases to the occasional phone call once patients leave the
How Emmi Care Plan Works
Emmi Care Plan empowers patients to play a proactive role in their health, whether they are in recovery at home or are managing chronic conditions. Using a natural dialogue that automatically adjusts to patient responses, customers can engage with the skill on Alexa-enabled devices simply by saying, “Alexa, ask Emmi Care Plan” to complete periodic health assessments, reminders, and additional education.
How are you feeling today? Have you used a rescue inhaler? Have you smoked or been around someone smoking today? Are you taking your medications?
Jason Burum adds, “For providers, the Emmi Care Plan skill adds a new layer of interaction to stay connected to consumers using the Alexa-enabled devices that are already an integral part of their day-to-day activities.” As clinicians engage with patients over time, they will gain new insights on their care journey at home. When risks for a change in the patient’s condition are identified, their care team is notified for follow-up.
Integration with Health System & Clinical Workflows
The new skill is part of Wolters Kluwer’s EmmiTransition solution which
keeps patients connected to their care teams post-discharge
through empathetic voice design, interactive phone calls and now, Alexa-based
interactions. EmmiTransition can be seamlessly integrated in a healthcare
system’s IT and
clinical workflows. Patients can access the Alexa skill through
participating healthcare providers by using an Alexa-enabled
smart speaker or device.
The new skill focuses on chronic conditions
like COPD, and targets health challenges that not only incur high costs
for patients and hospitals, but also exact a high toll on a patient’s
quality of life. By giving the care team access to connect with patients via Alexa-enabled
devices, they have visibility to a more longitudinal stream of patient
condition information. As a result, they can tailor and optimize care plans
in real-time, with an aim to improve engagement and outcomes.
Early feedback from test users has been overwhelmingly
positive, saying the skill “made them feel heard, cared for, and
offered encouragement.” Other feedback included “easy to answer the questions,”
“the skill was efficient and well-planned,” and they liked “not
having to speak to a human.”
Highmark, one of the largest Blues plans, has chosen Lark Health for its
chronic disease prevention and management platform.
Members will have access to Lark’s 24/7 AI-based coaching and programs to
manage diabetes, hypertension, and prevent chronic conditions.
Highmark Inc., America’s fourth-largest overall Blue Cross Blue Shield-affiliated organization, announced a growing collaboration with Lark Health, virtual chronic disease prevention and management platform giving select Highmark members access to Lark’s 24/7 health coaching to prevent and manage conditions like hypertension and diabetes and to stay healthy through weight management and stress reduction programs.
Costly Impact of Chronic Diseases
Chronic conditions are widespread and costly, and Lark’s
programs are aimed at providing personalized health coaching to address them at
scale. Six in 10 U.S. adults have a chronic disease, while 4 in 10 have two or
more. Diabetes affects an estimated 30 million Americans, and is a risk factor
for complications such as neuropathy, hypertension, stroke, heart disease, and
kidney disease. Diabetes costs the nation an estimated $327 billion annually in
direct medical costs and indirect costs, such as lost productivity. Nearly 1 in
3 adults have hypertension, which is an underlying cause of over 1,000 deaths
each day in the U.S. Hypertension costs the country over $48 billion each year.
Nearly 2 out of 3 individuals with diabetes also have hypertension.
Expansion of 2-Year Collaboration
Highmark’s vision is to deliver tech-enabled
and consumer-friendly solutions that meet members where they are and allow them
to more easily manage their health with highly personalized coaching. Since
beginning the two-year collaboration, member enrollment in Lark has been
Highmark’s employer group customers in Pennsylvania, Delaware, and West Virginia, as well as commercial National group customers, are able to access Lark’s unlimited 24/7 personal counseling in real-time through an easy-to-use, text message-like modality.
Lark and Highmark have worked together throughout the collaboration to identify and reach out to individuals at risk of developing chronic conditions, increasing awareness of the virtual care offerings through social media advertising, direct mail, email, and text campaigns.
Virtual Care Platform that Addresses Health Plans’ Costliest
Powered by conversational AI, the platform seamlessly addresses the whole person, with counseling for diabetes, cardiovascular disease, prediabetes, smoking cessation, stress, anxiety, and weight management, and it incorporates smart connected devices, like scales, that sync with the program to help remotely monitor conditions. When an emergent situation or complex question arises, Lark escalates the concern to a live interaction telephonically or provides a recommended next step.
“Preventing and managing chronic conditions is time-consuming, costly, and inconvenient. We need solutions that are scalable and meet people where they are, especially for individuals who might have comorbid conditions,” said Lark CEO and co-founder Julia Hu. “We are thrilled that Highmark members are choosing and embracing Lark to help them stay healthy, and we look forward to continuing our work with Highmark to offer engaging health coaching to more people.”
PRISYM 360 Achieves SAP® Certification as Integrated with Cloud Solutions from SAP
The latest version of the PRISYM 360 intelligent data import connector now has SAP-certified integration using SAP Cloud Platform Integration Suite
Wokingham, United Kingdom — 7 December 2020 — PRISYM ID, a leading provider of regulated content and label management solutions for the life sciences sector, announced today that PRISYM 360 version 1.10 has achieved SAP® certification using SAP Cloud Platform Integration Suite. The integration helps organizations to transfer labeling data from SAP technologies into the PRISYM 360 label management platform, easing the process of producing compliant labels and booklets for clinical trials, medical devices and other life sciences organisations.
The new interface supports cloud-based SAP applications as well as on-premise components. It is available as a standard product for PRISYM 360 deployments and its SAP-certified integration with cloud solutions from SAP offers businesses assurance that they are safely integrating the two systems in an approved way.
PRISYM 360 and SAP technologies communicate through a web service using standard SAP components with no intermediate stages. This helps to eliminate the need for manual data transfers and reduce the risk of human error, providing certainty while streamlining the process.
The SAP® Integration and Certification Center (SAP ICC) has certified that PRISYM 360 version 1.10 leverages SAP Cloud Platform Integration Suite for integration to SAP.
“PRISYM ID has achieved SAP-certified integration with SAP solutions before, helping to ensure that accurate data is used automatically for labeling purposes,” said Chris Lentz, VP SaaS and SAP Business Development at PRISYM ID. “This latest intelligent data import connector for PRISYM 360 delivers enhanced capabilities, enabling customers to transfer their clinical or medical device labeling data into PRISYM 360 using the latest cloud and on-premise components from SAP and eliminating the need for manual transfer of data. This SAP certification of PRISYM 360 gives users continued peace of mind that their systems are integrated using the latest protocols and following recommended procedures.”
– Ends –
About PRISYM ID
PRISYM ID provides regulated content and label management solutions designed specifically for life science companies and medical device manufacturers, improving patient safety and health outcomes whilst ensuring regulatory compliance. PRISYM ID’s unique products and technologies are used to assure compliance globally, for 10 million+ medical device, clinical trial and pharmaceutical products annually. www.prisymid.com
Any statements in this release that are not historical facts are forward-looking statements as defined in the U.S. Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. All forward-looking statements are subject to various risks and uncertainties described in SAP’s filings with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), including its most recent annual report on Form 20-F, that could cause actual results to differ materially from expectations. SAP cautions readers not to place undue reliance on these forward-looking statements which SAP has no obligation to update and which speak only as of their dates.
SAP and other SAP products and services mentioned herein as well as their respective logos are trademarks or registered trademarks of SAP SE (or an SAP affiliate company) in Germany and other countries. See https://www.sap.com/corporate/en/legal/copyright.html for additional trademark information and notices. All other product and service names mentioned are the trademarks of their respective companies.
Israel’s specialist venture capital firm, Olive Tree Ventures (OTV) has closed a fund worth $170 million, with plans to expand its portfolio of digital health firms.
OTV is the only VC in Israel whose main focus is digital health, specialising in supporting portfolio companies reaching maturity.
This includes help with regulatory hurdles and marketing of any validated products.
Over the past five years the OTV has added several high-profile digital health firms to its portfolio, including TytoCare, Lemonaid Health, Emedgene, Scopio, and Donisi Health.
OTV was founded in 2015 by general partners Mayer Gniwisch, Amir Lahat and Alejandro Weinstein. Together with partner Manor Zemer, the OTV leadership team is comprised of investors with a wide range of backgrounds, encompassing healthcare, technology, private equity and financial services, and with experience in the US, Latin American, Israeli and Asian markets.
Alejandro Weinstein, general partner at OTV, said: “OTV’s goal for the upcoming period is to harness our expertise in facilitating the growth of digital health companies, and, with laser sharp focus, identify the market leaders of tomorrow.
“Digital health technology is increasingly important for strained healthcare systems seeking to provide accessible and affordable treatment, especially to traditionally under-served populations. The COVID-19 pandemic elucidated the importance of digital products to the global healthcare ecosystem, but industry pain points predated the current crisis and clear solutions will be needed in the years to come.”
OTV also announced the appointment of Jose Antonio Urrutia Rivas as head of Asia Pacific, who joins after working at LarrainVial as Asian market developer.
Israel has been identified as one of the hottest areas for investment in digital health, with three cities identified in the top 10 busiest places for deals in the sector.
Tel Aviv, Jerusalem and Haifa all made the top ten list of the most active cities for digital health investment, according to a quarterly report from Startup Health.
2020 is already looking like the busiest ever for investment in digital health, with a record $16 billion flowing into the sector during the first nine months alone, according to the report.
Despite all this hope, we are far from a fully digital health care system. For instance,
Some 70% of American hospitals still fax and post patient records. The CEO of a big hospital in Madrid reports virtually no electronic record-sharing across Spain’s regions when the irst wave of COVID-19 washed over the country this spring.
Like many such articles, The Economist reviews new exciting technologies (and frothy market valuations) for telemedicine, interoperable electronic health records, as well sensor-based and app-based offerings as well as of course the obligatory mention of “precision medicine” and “medical artificial intelligence (AI)” and how Apple, Google and Amazon–among others–plan to play in the digital health space. But perhaps most interesting is the challenges that these companies need to overcome, a subject of which I discussed on a issue panel at ISPOR Europe 2020.
The article mentions the need for partnership: (i) between tech firms and health care experts and (ii) between these partnerships and the providers on the group who are actually treating patients. With respect to the former:
Medicine is a regulatory minefield with powerful incumbents where big tech’s business models, particularly the ad-supported sort, are not a natural fit. But the pandemic has also highlighted that existing providers’ snazzy hardware and pricey services too seldom genuinely improve health outcomes. If the new generation of digital technologies is to thrive it must “improve health, not increase costs”, thinks Vivian Lee of Verily. Her firm is moving away from fee-for-service to risk-based contracts that pay out when outcomes improve (eg, if diabetics get blood sugar under control or more people get eye exams).
And the latter:
Dr [Stephen] Klasko [chief executive of Jefferson Health, which runs hospitals in Philadelphia]…is embracing the hybrid approach with gusto. “You must have partnerships with providers, not just hundreds of unconnected apps.”
Most important, the technology must not just be “cool” or “innovative”, it must have concrete evidence that it either improves patient outcomes or reduces cost (or ideally both). As in the case of the analog world, concrete evidence of value will rule the day in digital.
– OTV (formerly Olive Tree
Ventures), Israel’s ‘digital health first’ venture capital firm closes $170
million venture fund to support innovative digital health companies worldwide.
– OTV also announced today a new China
office and the appointment of Jose Antonio Urrutia Rivas as Head of Asia
OTV (formerly Olive Tree Ventures), Israel’s ‘digital health first’ venture capital firm, today announced the closing of a fund with a total value of $170M. OTV is the only venture capital fund in Israel whose primary focus is digital health, specializing in supporting their portfolio companies reach maturity, refine execution, tackle regulatory hurdles, and ensure a global imprint on validated products.
“OTV’s goal for the upcoming period is to harness our expertise in facilitating the growth of digital health companies, and, with laser sharp focus, identify the market leaders of tomorrow,” said Alejandro Weinstein, General Partner, OTV. “Digital health technology is increasingly important for strained healthcare systems seeking to provide accessible and affordable treatment, especially to traditionally under-served populations. The Covid-19 pandemic elucidated the importance of digital products to the global healthcare ecosystem, but industry pain points predated the current crisis and clear solutions will be needed in the years to come.”
Background & Investment Thesis
Digital health technology is a young yet high growth vertical, with a market that has grown 150% since 2017 and is expected to be a $540 billion dollar industry by 2025.OTV was founded in 2015 by General Partners Mayer Gniwisch, Amir Lahat and Alejandro Weinstein with the mission of finding entrepreneurs with the most innovative, disruptive ideas in the digital health arena, that improve and save lives, and enable them to build successful, impactful companies.
to forming the VC firm, the team founded 7 successful companies that generated
over $4B in gains. Together with Partner Manor Zemer, the OTV leadership
team is comprised of investors with a wide range of backgrounds, encompassing
healthcare, technology, private equity and financial services, and with
experience in the US, LATAM, Israeli and Asian markets.
the course of the past five years, OTV has prioritized investment in
digital health companies that develop cutting-edge solutions to today’s most
pressing healthcare problems. OTV’s portfolio includes some of the world’s
highest-profile digital health leaders, including TytoCare, Lemonaid Health, Emedgene, Scopio and Donisi Health.
China Office & Head of Asia Pacific Appointment
OTV also announced today the appointment of Jose
Antonio Urrutia Rivas as Head of Asia Pacific. Jose is a graduate of the China
Europe International Business School in Shanghai’s MBA program, and previously
worked at LarrainVial as the Asian Market developer. Equipped with a wealth of
experience in the region, Jose will manage OTV’s new Asia Pacific office,
based in China. The new office will complement existing branches in New York,
Tel Aviv and Montreal, and will offer portfolio companies the opportunity to expand
in a region where the digital health field is robust and well-developed.
“I am excited to lead OTV’s expansion into the Asia-Pacific region, which plays a vital role in the global digital health economy,” said Jose Antonio Urrutia Rivas, Head of Asia Pacific, OTV. “OTV provides a unique connection between West and East, linking portfolio companies to Israel, North America and Asia and enhancing cooperation between these different markets. I am thrilled to have the opportunity to work with the OTV team, whose investment experience in a wide range of fields makes them perfectly placed to develop and implement winning growth strategies for best in class digital health companies..”
– Northwell Health announced that its Northwell Direct unit, which works with large employers, will be offering Conversa HealthCheck to screen employees, customers, students, and visitors.
– HealthCheck is a quick, chat-based electronic screening
for symptoms and signs of exposure to COVID-19. If cleared, users receive a
digital “badge” that allows entry to a facility. If not cleared, they
are given additional information on staying home and steps for testing and
– Employers use aggregated, de-identified results to
determine workforce needs and make decisions about reopening or temporarily
Direct today announced that it is partnering with Conversa Health to offer the COVID-19
HealthCheck, a screening chat tool for coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). The
tool is easy to use, efficient and confidential, and allows retailers, schools,
hotels, sporting and entertainment venues and other employers to create and
maintain a safe environment for employees, customers, students and visitors.
The rollout marks the first introduction of the COVID-19
HealthCheck to the tri-state region. In use more than 125,000 times every
workday, HealthCheck has proven to help businesses, universities, health
systems and other venues across the country.
COVID-19 HealthCheck: How It Works
Employees use the HealthCheck from home before each workday,
clicking on a secure link on their phone, tablet or computer to engage in a
simple, conversational automated chat that checks for possible exposure to the
new coronavirus and potential symptoms of infection. The chat takes about a
minute and a half, and after completion, employees who are cleared for the day
receive a digital “badge” that they can display for entry to the workplace. If
they are not cleared, they are instructed to stay home and are given guidance
on the appropriate steps to take for testing and care. The process is similar
when colleges and universities provide the HealthCheck for use by faculty and
Aggregated, De-identified Results of Workforce Daily
Employers who roll out the HealthCheck are notified of the
aggregated and de-identified results of their workforce’s daily screens,
providing information that can help them manage their business, adjust staffing
and make decisions about reopening or temporarily closing specific worksites.
The HealthCheck is continually updated to reflect the latest coronavirus
guidelines from the CDC and other scientific organizations.
Northwell Direct COVID-19 Solutions
Northwell Direct clients can use the HealthCheck solution on
its own or as part of a portfolio of tools built to help curb the spread of
COVID-19. For example, if a client uses Northwell Direct’s clinical concierge
service, employees whose responses raise any concerns will be guided to connect
with that service, which includes a 24/7 nurse line and an extensive care
Northwell Direct can also provide diagnostic (PCR) and
antibody testing for COVID-19 and
return-to-work assessments. Overall, Northwell Direct offers a holistic
approach that leverages the knowledge of Northwell Health’s experts in
infectious disease, occupational health, workforce safety, behavioral health
As businesses throughout New York and the country confront rising caseloads in their area, the first job of every employer is to ensure a safe and healthy workplace,” said Nick Stefanizzi, CEO of Northwell Direct, a Northwell Health company that provides customizable health care solutions to employers in the tri-state area. “Conversa’s COVID-19 HealthCheck is a fast, easy, evidence-based way to clear people for work or put them on a path to care – without compromising privacy or creating bottlenecks.”
– On the heels of $225.5 million dollars in funding and a
$1.5B valuation this week, Olive today announced its acquisition of Verata
Health to create a combined AI prior authorization solution for providers and
payers under the Olive name.
– Prior authorization is a $31 billion dollar issue in
healthcare, and one of the top reasons patient care is delayed. Olive is now
able to reduce write-offs by over 40% and cut turnaround times for prior
authorizations by up to 80%, ultimately offering hospitals $3.5 million in
Olive today, announced
of Verata Health to solve prior
authorizations for providers and payers via artificial
intelligence as a combined solution under the Olive name. The acquisition
follows Olive’s recent $225.5 million financing round to bolster the company’s
R&D war chest and drive the growth of Olive’s AI workforce for providers
and payers. With Olive’s recent momentum, Verata’s suite of AI tools will
deepen Olive’s impact as it automates the $31 billion problem of prior authorizations
Leverage Powerful Prior Authorization AI
Verata is a leading healthcare AI company, enabling
Frictionless Prior Authorization® for providers and payers. Seamlessly
connected to the nation’s top electronic health record
(EHR) systems, Verata’s AI technology automatically initiates prior
authorizations, retrieves payer rules, and helps identify and submit clinical
documentation from the EHR.
When payers leverage its AI platform, Verata enables point-of-care
authorizations for providers and patients, dramatically accelerating access to
Solving the $31B Prior Authorization Burden
Prior authorizations were the most costly and time-consuming transactions for providers in 2019 and are among the top reasons patient care is delayed. As cash-strapped hospitals and health systems strive to meet patient, payer, and provider needs, the demand for AI technologies to increase efficiency and improve the patient experience has become critical. To help improve patient access to care and remedy the $31 billion prior authorization challenge, Olive and Verata’s combined prior authorization solution streamlines the process for providers, patients, and payers by reducing write-offs by over 40% and cutting turnaround time for prior authorizations by up to 80%.
Acquisition Will Provide End-to-End Prior Authorization
By integrating Verata’s solution, Olive is able to provide customers with a true end-to-end prior authorization solution. The solution starts with determining if an authorization is required, includes touchless submission of the prior authorization request, ends with automating denied claim appeals, and grants hospitals a 360-degree view of their authorization performance. This means patients not only get the care they need faster but also eliminates confusing bills patients receive post-service stating their claim has been denied by their insurance.
As part of the acquisition, more than 60 Verata employees
will join the Olive team following the acquisition, bringing Olive’s total
employee count to approximately 500. Olive’s senior executive team will
continue to grow as well:
– Lori Jones, Chief Revenue Officer, will retain her title
and will also take on the role of President, Provider Market
– Dr. Jeremy Friese, Chief Executive Officer at Verata, will
join Olive as President, Payer Market
– Dr. YiDing Yu, Chief Medical Officer at Verata, will
become Olive’s Chief Medical Officer
“A broken healthcare system is one of the biggest challenges humanity faces today and prior authorization issues, in particular, are costing our nation billions of dollars. After partnering with Verata earlier this year, we saw incredible potential for Verata’s technology to reduce the amount of time and money spent on prior authorizations, and to eliminate delays in patient care,” said Sean Lane, CEO of Olive. “This acquisition allows Olive to accelerate innovation in areas where we can drive the biggest impact, and further expands our solutions to providers and payers seeking to transform healthcare.”
Financial details of the acquisition were not disclosed.
A heart monitor developed by iRhythm has become the first product to be endorsed by NICE in a pilot project covering digital health technologies.
In new guidance, the health technology assessment (HTA) agency has recommended iRhythm’s Zio XT service for detecting abnormal heart rhythms – provided NHS organisations that deploy it collect evidence of its benefits.
The wearable electrocardiogram (ECG) patch and associated software has been tested for its ability to detect atrial fibrillation (AF) in high-risk patients, with investigators reporting higher rates of diagnosis and more use of potentially life-saving anticoagulant therapy among users, but also increased demand on healthcare resources.
Zio XT has been recommended by NICE as an option for people with suspected cardiac arrhythmias who would benefit from ECG monitoring for longer than 24 hours, as a lighter, discreet alternative to Holter monitoring, which requires patients to wear several electrodes as well as a bulky monitor.
iRhythm’s device is waterproof, so can even be taken into the shower – an important consideration as it is used for up to two weeks, day and night.
NHS patients will have access to Zio XT for three years while more data is collected to address “evidence gaps about its benefit”, according to NICE. After that period, NICE will look at the new evidence before making a final recommendation.
Assuming NHS trusts take up the tech, it could be available for more than 150,000 people in the UK, according to the HTA. As it stands, there are more than 1.2 million people with diagnosed AF in the country, and another 500,000 are thought to be undiagnosed.
People with AF are more likely to suffer a stroke, and the risk is much higher in people who are unaware they have the heart rhythm disorder.
Monitoring patients for up to 14 days means that more data from each patient will be available to review, potentially improving its ability to spot arrhythmias.
At the end of the monitoring period, users remove the patch and send it via freepost for analysis using artificial intelligence algorithms, with the findings forwarded to their clinician.
Currently 12 hospital trusts across England are evaluating the Zio XT service, which costs £265 per patient, according to NICE, which says it is likely that Zio XT will be cost saving – or at least similar in cost – to Holter monitoring.
“Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic we have seen a number of cardiac patients avoiding hospitals and suffering in silence, even when experiencing serious conditions such as strokes,” said iRhythm’s EMEA vice president Justin Hall.
“This has led to a backlog of patients requiring care, putting additional pressure on medical staff and services,” he added. “Services like Zio can help ease this backlog, offering clinically-validated services remotely.”
Earlier this year, iRhythm won a UK government AI in Health and Care Award for Zio XT, securing funding to trial the service in selected sites across the country over the next three years.
The new Google visit planning tool is built on the same
evidence behind AHRQ’s QuestionBuilder app. The new tool will make it easy for
patients and caretakers to develop a visit plan by selecting from
evidence-based questions like, “What is this test for?” as well as adding their
own questions. When people use Google to search for a healthcare provider, they
will have the option to create their own private visit plan. Once completed,
patients can print or email the visit plan and bring it to the doctor’s office
to help them remember important questions they want to ask. In addition, the
visit plan also includes a reminder of things patients should bring to the
visit, like a list of current medications, recent lab results, and their insurance
Private & Secure
The tool does not gather any personal health information or
store any of the information that is entered into the tool. People have the
option to print or email their visit plan, and people can use this tool without
signing into a Google account.
Why It Matters
“Patients who prepare for medical visits by prioritizing their questions, strengthen their role as members of their own health care team,” said Jeffrey Brady, M.D., M.P.H., a preventive medicine physician and Director of the Center for Quality Improvement and Patient Safety at the AHRQ. Dr. Brady added, “This helps clinicians maximize their time with patients so they can better address their most critical health needs. Clinicians appreciate that healthcare can be more efficient, effective, and higher quality when they work together with patients.”
This tool is currently in the pilot phase and is only available to a limited number of people in the United States and will expand to more users over time.
The Stanford Center for Digital Health recently released theStanford Center for Digital Health Landscape Report, a first of its kind, comprehensive analysis of digital health efforts across Stanford. The report includes a deep dive into academic literature, detailed research trends, and unique institutional insights from a variety of stakeholders throughout the Stanford ecosystem.
The report focuses on four core elements:
1. Literature review of Stanford’s digital health
2. Survey data describing the expertise of Stanford Faculty
in the digital health space
3. Interviews and statements from Stanford’s key opinion
4. Overview of the Stanford ecosystem and the groups
involved in digital health work
The Stanford Center for Digital Health Landscape Report aims
to serve as a central resource for promoting collaboration and aims to leverage
Stanford’s collective power to help shape the future of digital health.
To download a copy of the report, click on the download now
– Today, CVS Health was selected by HHS, as part of
Operation Warp Speed, to pilot the administration of a limited supply of
bamlanivimab, a monoclonal antibody therapy, with eligible COVID-19 patients
at-risk of severe infection or complications resulting from the virus.
– Under this pilot, Coram, the specialty pharmacy and
infusion care business of CVS Health, will administer the intravenous therapy
in patients’ homes or long-term care facilities to help meet the growing demand
for these new treatments.
– The pilot will be available in Boston, Chicago,
Cleveland, Los Angeles, Milwaukee, Minneapolis and Tampa, and their surrounding
communities starting Thursday, December 3.
CVS Health was selected today by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), as part of Operation Warp Speed, to pilot the administration of a limited supply of bamlanivimab, a monoclonal antibody therapy, with eligible COVID-19 patients at risk of severe infection or complications resulting from the virus. The selection underscores the role of CVS Health as a diversified health services company and expands work underway with HHS and Operation Warp Speed as CVS Health also prepares to administer COVID-19 vaccines
COVID-19 Therapy Pilot Details
Under this pilot, Coram, the specialty pharmacy and infusion
care business of CVS Health, will administer the intravenous therapy in
patients’ homes or long-term care facilities to help meet the growing demand
for these new treatments. Coram and its more than 800 certified and highly
trained nurses across the country are a prime example of how CVS Health offers
diversified health services to transform health and meet people where they are
– whether in normal times or during the ongoing pandemic.
Details of the pilot include:
– Coram will begin administering 1,000 doses of monoclonal
antibody therapies for the treatment of COVID-19.
– The pilot will be available in Boston, Chicago, Cleveland,
Los Angeles, Milwaukee, Minneapolis and Tampa, and their surrounding
communities starting Thursday, December 3. Following the pilot, Coram will
scale this solution to additional markets in areas of greatest need.
– To be eligible, and in accordance with the therapy’s
Emergency Use Authorization (EUA), patients must not be hospitalized, be within
10 days of symptom onset, at least 12 years of age or older, weighing at least
40 kilograms (or 88.2 pounds), and at high risk for progressing to severe
disease and/or hospitalization.
– There is no out-of-pocket cost to the patient for this
Why It Matters
As COVID-19 rates surge in many parts of the country, Coram
also has worked to help keep patients out of inpatient and hospital settings
altogether, alleviating pressure on the health care system and preserving
important hospital resources for the most critical patients. Since early
in the pandemic, Coram has partnered with hospitals to safely
transition eligible infusion patients home to help ensure hospital bed capacity
to treat COVID-19 patients. Importantly, today’s announcement also expands the
integral role of CVS Health on the front lines in the fight against COVID-19.
This includes work underway with HHS and Operation Warp Speed to administer
COVID-19 vaccines when available, as well as a national COVID-19 testing
infrastructure, which has enabled the company to perform more than eight
million tests across more than 4,300 retail testing locations and onsite at
workplaces and campuses around the country since the start of the
“Patients can rest assured they are receiving the best care possible through Coram in the safety and comfort of their own home or long-term care facility, and Coram is poised to continue to meet shifting health care demands as the importance and value of home-based care will undoubtedly outlive the pandemic,” added Prem Shah, Pharm.D., Executive Vice President of CVS Specialty and Product Innovation. “This established and experienced clinical service further demonstrates CVS Health’s unique ability to touch all aspects of a person’s health to make their experience more accessible and affordable.”
Not too long ago virtual reality (VR) tech might have seemed like a dream, but now it’s being harnessed by the healthcare industry for a wide variety of purposes, and during COVID-19 has helped educate physicians when real-world training isn’t feasible
Commercial VR is still a relatively fresh prospect, but already the pharma and healthcare industries have caught onto the hype and are exploring the myriad ways this tech could be used to improve patient outcomes.
That’s not to say VR is widespread in the sector – far from it – but the readiness to adopt such a new technology from even big pharma firms is somewhat surprising considering how conservative the industry has been in the past.
Novartis, for example, has used the tech to help researchers improve the molecular makeup of a drug, by allowing them to view these structures at a larger size and in a more “natural” 3D view. Similarly, Pfizer is using the technology to allow researchers to visualise and virtually explore the human body at a molecular level. One recent study even explored how VR could be used to analyse drug candidates that target the main protease of the SARS-CoV-2 virus behind COVID-19.
Healthcare agency, consultancy and digital health group Healthware Group has acquired Finland-based digital service development and creative agency Make Helsinki.
The acquisition builds on prior collaborations between the two organisations, including in best-in-class full-service agency offerings, digital transformation, technology/enterprise solutions and corporate venturing.
The move will see Make Helsinki’s CEO and co-founder Petteri Kolehmainen assume the role of managing director Finland at Healthware Group.
He said: “We have been cooperating together for several years, and have found that we strongly share similar focuses, cultures and targets. As part of Healthware Group we can serve our existing and new customers better, faster and with wider expertise than ever before.”
Make Helsinki was founded in 2015 and offers services such as virtual reality (VR), customer experience, design, augmented reality (AR) and recruitment for virtual trials, as well as having strong knowledge of the Nordic market.
The deal will see Make Helsinki rebrand to Healthware and function as a regional hub for the group, continuing to offer its services in addition to the entire Healthware Group offering. Existing employees in the region will report into the new organisation.
Healthware CEO Roberto Ascione said the acquisition will allow the group to focus on the Nordics and Baltics region and become part of the burgeoning Finnish tech ecosystem.
Ascione said: “We are excited about this new acquisition, which extends our global footprint with a Nordics and Baltics presence and reinforces our expertise in key disciplines that are increasingly important to the future of health.”
Founded in 1997, Healthware has seen rapid growth in the past few years. It became privately-owned once again after spinning out of a healthcare communications conglomerate in 2015 and saw €10 million investment in early 2019 led by FITEC, one of the main European VC funds focusing on technology. This latest deal follows the group’s acquisition of pharmaphorum earlier this year.
For so long the US healthcare system was built around the provider, with appointments and services set by the provider (along with insurance reimbursement systems). This structure relies on in-person visits of patients to operate and become profitable. But when the industry suddenly shifted due to COVID-19, so too did the power dynamics of the patient-provider relationship. Omri Shor, CEO of Medisafe, explores how.
Now operating under virtual formats, patients can demand healthcare access on their schedule, creating a pivot point for the industry where pharma and providers must meet the demands of the patient – not the healthcare system. And it’s no longer a pipe dream to think of a system that puts the patient first, treats them individually, and employs a network of patient technology to meet the health needs of each person.
Burden on the patient
Thinking back through my experiences in the healthcare system, a recent quote has stuck with me that sums up the burden placed on patients: “I left [the doctor’s office] with more directions on how to pay my bill than to care for my health.”
In many ways, treatment for patients has focused on addressing a condition or illness, not caring for the individual. And while that approach may have led to successful outcomes for most, it doesn’t incorporate a patient’s lifestyle, unique factors, individual challenges or barriers to successful treatment. This extends to pharma where medicine addresses a condition, but patient care, guidance, and support have often been an afterthought.
In many ways, the current system still places the burden on the patient, creating hardships and hurdles to navigate. And for the majority of patients who are managing chronic conditions, it means not only managing their health but also the complexities of the system. But the convergence of health and technology is helping to give patients more power in caring for their health, and demand for transparency, accountability, and control over their health and lives. As patients gain more choice in the marketplace, pharma and providers alike are starting to recognise the value in patient satisfaction and are quickly adopting new ways to respect the patient voice.
While new satisfaction measures and competition are helping to shift the model to connect with patients, the biggest advancements in the patient experience have come through tech advancements. The onset of the pandemic forced nearly all elements of the healthcare ecosystem to pivot to new formats to stay connected to patients. This also shifted the demand and scheduling to operate around patient’s schedules, instead of the other way around.
This shift comes at a time when patients were already embracing digital health apps, medication companions, and wearable technology. Suddenly digital health has put patient choice in the palm of their hands. In a world where everything is on-demand, streaming, and delivered next-day, users have come to expect a similar experience from medication management and pharma support.
Thanks to the convergence of tech and health, the future of healthcare places the patient directly in the driver seat, able to track their health stats, monitor and manage conditions, engage with providers and connect with pharmacies all within a digital platform. This new level of interoperability means improved transparency, greater connectivity, and more insight to treat the person, not just the patient.
Clinician adoption and integration
Healthcare remains one of the most personal experiences, and the influence of technology can improve the experience and outcomes, but it cannot replace human interaction altogether. Leaders in the health IT space know that tech alone isn’t the answer – it’s how to blend technology with personalisation to create a better ecosystem. In the most recent HLTH conference, companies such as Amazon, Google, and IBM explored ways to incorporate live interactions through tech devices to enhance segments of healthcare.
“I envision a future where technology helps to close gaps and connect patients more closely with physicians and their healthcare coverage”
Pharma is examining ways to reach the patient population through a combined effort of both personal and digital. One new partnership is through Pleio. This network of connected care coordinators works with patients upon receiving medications, walks the patient through their first 15 days on a new medication and then helps move them to a digital companion that tracks their usage, engagement, and delivers customised support via a connected app.
This hand-holding model from personal to digital has shown to improve medication adherence by up to 50%. Another way pharma is blending this model is through virtual clinical trial studies. By creating a disparate model in clinical trials, critical information is still being captured while using virtual technology and AI to remain engaged with patients remotely. This new structure is enabling pharma to engage with a larger pool of candidates, while also offering more flexibility to the lives of patients.
Patients still want personal care and are finding greater satisfaction through tech involvement in helping to manage follow-up interaction, medication management, financial support, and digital encouragement. As one physician put it, patients want “human support for the big stuff and digital access and guidance for smaller daily stuff.”
Future of integrated care
As we look to the future, amidst a pandemic that has changed everything about how health systems operate, it’s clear that digital has taken hold. I envision a future where technology helps to close gaps and connect patients more closely with physicians and their healthcare coverage. We are already seeing a glimpse of that as COVID-19 vaccine makers and pharma companies begin eyeing digital health platforms to help connect patients with safety resources. Tracking of vaccine doses will be essential to ending the pandemic and pharma companies are already in talks with leaders at Google, Apple, and Medisafe on ways to deploy such platforms.
The patient home has also become the new centre for care, further helping to put power back into patients’ hands. AI applications and digital integration in the home will soon be able to inform patients when a medication has shipped, if there is a flu outbreak in their area, or if they want to speak with a physician via FaceTime. In a similar move, Amazon is launching an at-home pharmacy delivery service, making medication management as easy as Prime membership for maintenance medications.
But healthcare that no longer leaves out the patient is truly about simplification. Patients want a healthcare experience that first recognises them as people, as individuals, and takes a comprehensive approach to care, not simply fixing a broken issue. The future of care is more personal, more connected, and more complete. With digital platforms that encompass a user’s whole health, including medications, vitals, nutrition, exercise, environment, behavioural and financial health. It’s care that addresses a person’s complete environment, with medication and support to improve their lives, not just their condition.
About the author
Omri Shor is the CEO of Medisafe. He is an expert in digital medicine applications and works closely with major pharma companies in developing and guiding direct connection to patients via innovative platforms to support improved health and treatment, with customisation and guided treatment.
Healthcare agency, consultancy and digital health group, Healthware, has announced the acquisition of Finland-based digital service development and creative agency Make Helsinki.
Healthware strengthens its geographical coverage with the creation of a hub dedicated to the Nordics and Baltics region
The deal combines Healthware’s consulting, full-service agency and digital health capabilities with Make Helsinki’s additional expertise in Virtual Reality, Customer Experience, Design and recruitment for Clinical
Salerno/Helsinki, 1 December 2020 – Healthware, founded in 1997 and led by digital health expert Roberto Ascione, has seen rapid growth in the past few years and has evolved into a partner able to guide the transformation of life sciences, health tech and health insurance companies, as well as the start-ups to partner and connect with the healthcare stakeholders. Make Helsinki Ltd., founded in 2015 brings complementary services spanning Virtual Reality, Customer Experience, Design, Augmented Reality and recruitment for Clinical Trials on top of a full service agency.
The acquisition builds on successful prior collaboration between the two organisations, including best-in-class full-service agency offerings, digital transformation, technology / enterprise solutions and corporate venturing. In addition, Make Helsinki brings knowledge of the Finnish technology playground and Nordic market.
Petteri Kolehmainen, CEO and co-founder of Make Helsinki, who will assume the role of Managing Director Finland at Healthware Group, said:
“We have been cooperating together for several years, and have found that we strongly share similar focuses, cultures and targets. As part of Healthware Group we can serve our existing and new customers better, faster and with wider expertise than ever before.”
Due to both companies being privately owned, the terms of the deal have not been disclosed. Make Helsinki will rebrand to Healthware and will function as a regional hub, continuing to offer its services in addition to the entire Healthware Group offering. Existing employees in the region will report into the new organisation.
Roberto Ascione, CEO & founder at Healthware Group, said:
“We are excited about this new acquisition, which extends our global footprint with a Nordics & Baltics presence and reinforces our expertise in key disciplines that are increasingly important to the future of health.”
Healthware Group is privately owned and backed by FITEC, a leading European VC fund focusing on technology. This has accelerated the company’s growth and enabled key strategic investments and acquisitions within life sciences and digital health.
We speak to finalists from the Greater Manchester Future of Health accelerator to find out how digital start-ups can overcome the challenges small companies face in bringing their technologies into the NHS.
Right now the NHS is embracing digital to an extent no one could have foreseen a year ago – but that doesn’t mean it’s a smooth journey for digital health start-ups looking to gain traction in the health service.
“COVID has forced the NHS to change, but so far most of the implemented digital innovations have been low-hanging fruit such as video consultations,” says Rory Cameron, CEO and co-founder at diabetes risk management app Gendius. “Adoption of new tech is still a real challenge.”
He says that part of the problem is that standards of care are rapidly changing, and it is therefore difficult for companies to prove their concept.
UK artificial intelligence startup Okra Technologies has launched a new software platform that it claims can take the guesswork out of the price that can be charged for new drugs, years ahead of launch.
The AI system – called ValueScope – can predict the price as well as the likely outcome of negotiations with health technology assessment agencies like NICE in the UK and IQWiG in Germany with more than 90% accuracy, claims the company.
The platform uses AI to “dramatically free up the time spent on crunching datasets, modelling scenarios and building price predictions,” says Okra, a Cambridge-based company led by Dr Loubna Bouarfa, a machine learning scientist who was formerly a member of the European Commission’s high-level group on AI.
Dr Loubna Bouarfa
Bouarfa has also been named as an Innovator Under 35 for 2017 by MIT and as one of Forbes’ Top 50 Women in Technology.
“ValueScope provides intelligence that pharma executives require when critical decisions about future investments and patient access are made,” said Bouarfa, adding: “We use data to bring clarity and transparency to the table.”
At the moment pricing and reimbursement modelling requires many hours building evidence from clinical trial data, real-world evidence, historic drug submissions, pricing data and HTA appraisals, according to the startup.
ValueScope avoids this by injecting AI directly into the workflow of every pricing professional, performing in minutes what could take months with traditional approaches, it claims.
The AI was built using data from more than 1,700 drugs that have been launched in Europe, creating a virtual model for HTA negotiations. It was put through its paces in Germany, and hit the 90% accuracy threshold when predicting the outcome of appraisals and the negotiated price of phase 3 treatments.
The system enables market access and commercial teams to perform assessments of early drug candidates faster and more efficiently than before, without the need for extensive pricing research and repetitive data crunching.
Okra has also developed AI platforms to make sales reps’ workflows more efficient, predict sales volumes for products, and improve communications between medical scientific liaisons (MSLs) and healthcare practitioners.
The US government has introduced a scheme to allow hospitals to reduce the number of inpatients they see through a telehealth platform that would helps deliver acute care at home.
The move comes as the number of new cases of COVID-19 have been climbing to around 180,000 a day, with deaths since the start of the pandemic now rising above 260,000, and concerns that some hospitals could become overwhelmed over the winter months.
The Centres for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) announced the plans as part of broad plan to free up hospital capacity amid the COVID-19 surge, although it stressed patients won’t have to use the service unless they want to, and the first assessment by a physician must take place in person.
It said that treatment for more than 60 different acute conditions, including asthma, heart failure, pneumonia and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), can be carried out “appropriately and safely in home settings with proper monitoring and treatment protocols.”
The new telehealth scheme applies to patients with conditions that require at least daily visits by a physician and ongoing medical team monitoring.
Six health systems across the country have already been approved to participate in the programme, getting the necessary Medicare waivers to allow them to treat patients at home.
They are Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Massachusetts, Massachusetts General Hospital, Huntsman Cancer Institute in Utah, Mount Sinai Health System in New York City, Presbyterian Healthcare Services in New Mexico, and Iowa’s UnityPoint Health.
Participating hospitals must have screening protocols in place before care at home begins, to assess that patients have access to working utilities, ensure there are no other physical barriers to care, and rule out welfare concerns such as a risk of domestic violence.
The US healthcare system has rapidly adopted telehealth and remote patient monitoring during the response to the coronavirus pandemic, with some suggesting it will transform the future of health care delivery, although there are dissenting voices.
In March 13, President Trump made an emergency declaration that empowered the CMS to issue waivers to Medicare programme requirements to support healthcare providers and patients during the crisis.
Since then, the CMS has added dozens of services to the list of telehealth services it will reimburse during the public health emergency, including emergency department visits, initial nursing facility and discharge consultations, home visits, and physical, occupational and speech therapy services.
Some of the changes have found their way into the proposed 2021 Physician Fee Schedule, which will make reimbursement for some telehealth and digital services permanent.
“We’re at a new level of crisis response with COVID-19 and CMS is leveraging the latest innovations and technology to help healthcare systems that are facing significant challenges to increase their capacity to make sure patients get the care they need,” said CMS Administrator Seema Verma.
“With new areas across the country experiencing significant challenges to the capacity of their health care systems, our job is to make sure that CMS regulations are not standing in the way of patient care for COVID-19 and beyond,” she added.
– Israeli-based G Medical Innovation has withdrawn its plans for an initial public offering (IPO) on Tuesday, Nasdaq first reports.
– The company originally filed
an IPO to raise $30 million by offering 5 million shares at a price range of $5
to $7 last month to list on the Nasdaq under the symbol GMVD.
– The recent withdrawal marks the company’s second
attempt to go public in the US, previously filing in May 2019 and withdrawing
the following August. The company was also previously listed on the ASX (GMV)
but recently delisted its shares.
– G Medical Innovations is an early commercial-stage healthcare company developing app-based connected medical devices for vital signs monitoring. The company’s current product offerings include Prizma medical device, a clinical-grade device used to transform smartphones into medical monitoring devices, and Extended Holter Patch System, a multi-channel patient-worn biosensor that captures electrocardiogram data continuously for up to 14 days.
– The company reported $5M in revenue for the 12 months
ended June 30, 2020.
CVS Health Corporation names Neela Montgomery Executive Vice President and President of CVS Pharmacy/Retail, effective November 30, 2020. Montgomery will oversee the company’s 10,000 pharmacies across the United States. Montgomery, currently a Board Partner at venture capital firm Greycroft, most recently served as chief executive officer of furniture retailer Crate & Barrel and has nearly 20 years of global retail experience.
The Cleveland Clinic and Amwell joint venture appoint Egbert van Acht as Executive Vice Chairman to the Board of Directors and Frank McGillin as CEO. Formed one year ago as a first-of-its-kind company to provide broad access to comprehensive, high-acuity care via telehealth, the company has made great progress scaling digital care through its MyConsult® offering. With an initial focus on clinical second opinions, the organization also offers health information and diagnosis on more than 2,000 different types of conditions including cancer, cardiac, and neuroscience issues.
Healthcare industry veteran Dana Gelb Safran, Sc.D. has joined Well Health Inc. as Senior Vice President, Value-Based Care, and Population Health. In her new role, Dr. Safran will expand WELL’s uses to improve healthcare quality, outcomes, and affordability through partnerships with payers and Accountable Care Organization (ACO) providers.
Talkdesk®, Inc., the cloud contact center for innovative enterprises appoints Cory Haynes to lead Talkdesk’s strategy for the financial service industry and Greg Miller to lead the strategy for healthcare and life sciences. Haynes and Miller are key members of the Talkdesk industries team led by Andrew Flynn, senior vice president of industries strategy for Talkdesk.
Imprivata appoints Mark McArdle to Senior Vice President of Products and Design. Mr. McArdle has more than two decades of experience in software development, Software-as-a-Service (Saas), in Cybersecurity, and advanced products for the enterprise, SMB, and consumer markets.
Eden Health names Jack Stoddard as executive chairman of its board of directors. Formerly serving in COO roles for Accolade and Haven, Stoddard brings two decades of healthcare innovation and operating experience to the board position, providing leadership, wisdom, and counsel during a time of monumental growth and adoption for the company.
Augmedix names Saurav Chatterjee Chief Technology Officer. Prior to joining Augmedix, he most recently served as Vice President of Engineering at Lumiata, Inc., where he led the engineering team that built a leading AI platform, focusing specifically on transforming, cleaning, enriching, featurizing, and visualizing healthcare data, and on building, deploying and operationalizing machine learning and deep-learning models at scale.
Tridiuum, the nation’s premier provider of digital behavioral health solutions names Philip Vecchiolli has joined the company as Chief Growth and Strategy Officer. Vecchiolli, who brings over 30 years of experience to the new role, has a successful track record of leading business development for large and mid-size healthcare companies.
Connect America appoints Janet Dillione as its new chief executive officer (CEO). Prior to joining Connect America, Dillione worked in the healthcare information services industry as CEO of Bernoulli Enterprise, Inc., GM of Nuance Healthcare, and CEO of Siemens Healthcare IT.
Health Catalyst, Inc. announces that current Chief Financial Officer Patrick Nelli has been named President, effective January 1, 2021. Following Nelli’s promotion to the President role, Health Catalyst has named Bryan Hunt, current Senior Vice President of Financial Planning & Analysis, Chief Financial Officer, also effective January 1, 2021.
Two additional promotions, also effective January 1, 2021, include Jason Alger, Senior Vice President of Finance, to Chief Accounting Officer, and Adam Brown, Senior Vice President of Investor Relations, to Senior Vice President of Investor Relations and Financial Planning & Analysis.
Apervita hires health IT veteran Rick Howard as Chief Product Officer. In his role, Rick will oversee product vision, innovation, design, and delivery of Apervita’s digital platform, which enables digital quality measurement, clinical intelligence, as well as value-based contract monitoring and performance measurement.
Conversion Labs, Inc. appoints Roberto Simon to its board of directors and as the chair of its audit committee. Following his appointment, the board now has eight members, with six serving as independent directors. Mr. Simon currently serves as CFO of WEX (NYSE: WEX), a $6+ billion fintech services provider.
PRA Health Sciences, Inc. appoints senior FDA official Isaac Rodriguez-Chavez, Ph.D., MHS, MS, as Senior Vice President, Scientific and Clinical Affairs. He will lead the company’s Global Center of Excellence for Decentralized Clinical Trial (DCT) Strategy. Dr. Rodriguez-Chavez’s responsibilities will involve the continued growth and development of PRA’s industry-leading decentralized clinical trial strategy, regulatory framework creation, and clinical trial modernization.
Proprio appoints three global thought leaders to its Medical Advisory Board. Dr. Sigurd Berven, Orthopedic Surgeon and Professor at the University of California, San Francisco, Dr. Charles Fisher, Professor and Head of the Combined Neurosurgical & Orthopedic Spine Program at Vancouver General Hospital and the University of British Columbia, and Dr. Ziya Gokaslan, Professor and Chair of the Department of Neurosurgery at Brown University and Neurosurgeon-in-Chief at Rhode Island Hospital and The Miriam Hospital will apply their globally respected surgical and research expertise to the development of the Proprio navigation platform.
Kaiser Permanente names Andrew Bindman, MD Executive Vice President and Chief Medical Officer. In this role, Dr. Bindman will collaborate with clinical and operational leaders throughout the enterprise to help lead the organization’s efforts to continue improving the high-quality care provided to members and patients throughout Kaiser Permanente. Dr. Bindman will report directly to Kaiser Permanente chairman and CEO Greg A. Adams.
Greenway names Dr. Michael Blackman Chief Medical Officer at Greenway. Dr. Blackman will further support the company’s ambulatory care customers, ensuring providers are equipped with the solutions and services they need to improve patient outcomes and succeed in value-based care.
Suki expands its leadership team with six key hires to support the company’s rapid commercial growth. Tracy Rentz, formerly Vice President of Implementation at Evolent Health, joins Suki as the Vice President of Customer Success and Operations to lead all customer operations, with a particular focus around deploying new Suki customers. Brian Duffy brings over 20 years of sales experience to Suki, joining the team as Director of Sales-East, after having most recently served as Regional Director at Qventus, Inc. Brent Jarkowski will also join Suki’s sales team this November as the Director of Sales-West, bringing over 15 years of experience in strategic relationship management. Brent joins Suki after serving as Senior Client Development Director at Kyyrus. Together, Brian and Brent will head the company’s efforts in building new partnerships across the country. And Josh Margulies, who previously served as the Director of Integrated Brand Marketing for the Jacksonville Jaguars, will serve as Suki’s new Senior Director of Field Marketing.
– Zebra Medical Vision, the deep-learning medical imaging analytics company, and Scottish digital transformation consultancy Storm ID were chosen to co-develop new AI-based osteoporosis prevention solutions under EUREKA intergovernmental network.
– The UK-Israel research and development grant will be
co-developed with clinical teams from NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde and Assuta
Medical Centers in Israel.
Scottish digital transformation consultancy Storm ID and Israeli AI
start-up Zebra Medical Vision have
won a UK-Israel research and development competition with a proposal for a
revolutionary, machine learning-driven model for early detection and prevention
of osteoporosis to improve patient care and reduce healthcare costs. The
collaboration will involve close engagement with clinical teams in NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde and Assuta Medical Centers. The project is
co-funded in part by the UK and Israel under the EUREKA framework to foster
industrial research collaboration between the UK and Israel.
Early Detection of Osteoporosis Through AI-Based Models
For the next two years, an international, multidisciplinary
team of clinicians, data scientists and computer scientists will develop a
machine learning-driven model for early detection and prevention of
osteoporosis to improve patient care and reduce healthcare costs. The solution
will analyze medical imaging data and patient records to help clinical teams
identify and treat people with risk of fractures before they happen.
“We are pleased to partner on the development of this innovative new service for osteoporosis patients through the expertise of the West of Scotland Innovation Hub. This is another example of a successful collaboration between industry and the NHS to move forward innovative healthcare. Our clinical teams at NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde will support the aim of this project to ultimately identify and treat patients with increased risk of bone breakage before it happens,” said David Lowe, Emergency Consultant, NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde, and Clinical Lead, West of Scotland Innovation Hub.